Friday, 16 August 2013

Sepia Saturday 190: Come into the Garden Maud


Sepia Saturday with Marilyn Brindley and Alan Burnett

The difficulty with providing an image for use as a Sepia Saturday prompt, particularly one that you've used previously, is that it's a little trickier to produce an interesting follow on article. Hence I'm going off on a somewhat different tack this week. Feel free to play the embedded sound track while you're reading, and it will hopefully provide an appropriate background to the photos.

Image © and collection of Brett Payne
Unidentified couple and baby with garden tent, c.1893-1898
Cabinet card (roughly trimmed) by unidentified photographer
Image © and collection of Brett Payne

Come into the garden, Maud,
For the black bat, Night, has flown,
Come into the garden, Maud,
I am here at the gate alone;
And the woodbine spices are wafted abroad,
And the musk of the roses blown.

For a breeze of morning moves,
And the planet of Love is on high,
Beginning to faint in the light that she loves
On a bed of daffodil sky,
To faint in the light of the sun she loves,
To faint in his light, and to die.

Maud; A Monodrama
by Alfred Lord Tennyson

When Alfred - for surely that must be his name - charmed Maud with those silken words, it seems unlikely that he envisaged such an outcome: tea with Maud, but also a very alert baby, and a photographer in attendance to record the event. He is not amused!


The Miller house, shop and post office, c.1905-1910
Image republished from old postcard by unknown publisher

It wasn't just the faintly ridiculous pose which attracted me to the cabinet card, purchased on eBay, but also the tent. It is similar to one just visible in this image of the Weston Underwood garden of my great-great-grandparents John and Eliza Miller. When I last used this image, in the story of John's father James Miller, drainage man, I suggested that the tent might have been "used as a children's playhouse." Perhaps they were a common appearance in late Victorian and Edwardian gardens, and primarily protected tea drinkers from the harsh summer sun?

For more picnics and garden gatherings, please pay a visit to the 190th edition of Sepia Saturday.

53 comments:

  1. Ah, memories, memories. John McCormack. You can understand every word that he says. Nowadays they seem to always drown out the singer with the backing music. I'm singing along with him. Lovely photos.

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    1. Oh well done, boundforoz, but you weren't around in 1915 when he made this recording, I'm sure!

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  2. That first picture is great. I performed in melodrama theater for several years & the man's pose fits the genre perfectly!

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    1. Yes, you're quite right - Alfred's putting on a melodramatic air at Maud's affontery ruining a perfectly arranged tryst.

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  3. I suppose the tent might have been a kind of Edwardian Wendy House. Did poor Maude know what was in store for her when the "planet of love was on high"

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    1. I don't know what happened in the Wendy houses of your youth ...

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  4. Love the garden tents! So much more elegant than the beach / garden shelters used now.

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    1. My wife bought one of those beach wind-shelter/pods - the slightest breeze and it almost flattens, absolutely hopeless and as you say, definitely not elegant.

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  5. Yes, rather a stern pose isn't it; do you think he was trying to let the baby know who's boss? Once again, thank you for the use of your image for the prompt this week - and I owe you a Scotch Egg!

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    1. Somehow I don't think it would fare well in the post, so you'd better hold on to that promise for the moment.

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  6. No, the gent doesn't look pleased at all, does he?

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    1. If it's an act, he's doing a pretty good job of it.

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  7. Definitely delightful Brett! Enjoyed the photos and the audio! Good choice for this Saturday's post.

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  8. A 3-sided tent is in Alan's photo too. It seems like a practical solution to heat and glare of the sun for those wishing to enjoy the garden.

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    1. I'm off to look at Alan's photo now.

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  9. The garden tent would offer some protection from the sun at some times of the day, but it wouldn't be much use in a rain storm.

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    1. No, you're right, Postcardy, it would surely be carried away by the merest suggestion of a squall.

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  10. He is indignant on being informed that Maud has to change the baby before he can have his tea.

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  11. I can remember having a similar tent which we took to the beach when I was a child. The erection of the tent in the wind was always a great source of frustration for my mother (father never went to the beach) and of great amusement for we children. Thanks for the memory jogger, Brett.

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    1. I'm afraid to say I am guilty of a similar level of amusement at my wife's efforts with her sunshade on a slightly windy beach.

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  12. Lovely old house and garden with tent of your great grand parents.

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    1. And amazing that the house and garden are still there, much as they were over a hundred years ago.

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  13. such a dramatic story and image!

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    1. Well, the drama's mostly dreamt up.

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  14. A fun photo. Baby looks to be at the height of cuteness. I would think a tent might be intended as a sun screen for mother and infant, rather than for children or tea services. Between hats and parasols, women of this era seemed very sensitive (and wisely too as we know now) to sun exposure.

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    1. Yes, I think they were far more sensible about the harmful effects of the sun a century ago than we are now. Strange, considering how much more we know about what it can do to you.

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  15. Too funny, his pose may have been just an act and maybe he broke out in laughter once the photo was taken! That Miller house looks interesting! I wonder what the outside is made of?

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    1. Just brick, almost certainly bricks made by my ancestor James Miller.

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    2. That is totally amazing and what a treasure that your ancestor made them. I was seeing it on my phone last night, and now on my computer it's a much better view, most charming indeed.

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  16. And you dinna even mention that most of the little girls were wearing their hats. Must have been Sunday, I'd bet.

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  17. It is a wonderful photo. Mother looks very proud. Father appears to be looking in the distance. I wonder what he sees that he is unhappy about?

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    1. He looks fed up with pretty much everything.

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  18. I enjoyed the way you linked the photo with the "Come into the Garden, Maud" poem.

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  19. What a strange stance the man has in the photo looking at the lady holding the child! Love the tent
    Jackie
    Scrapbangwallop

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  20. Those tents do look as if they might be a little useless on a breezy day.

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    1. Gone with the wind. Thanks for visiting, anyjazz.

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  21. I definitely see what you mean about the man's irritated stance. It adds a comic touch to the photo which I'm sure was not the intended reaction. The tent actually reminds me of those found on beaches of the era used for changing into bathing attire. Apparently they were multi-purpose!

    I have to say, the embedded soundtrack was indeed the definitive touch!! Absolutely perfect choice. Bravo!

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the soundtrack Patty - that's a good idea about the purpose of the tent.

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  22. I'm with Mike on the tent: those Victorians didn't like sun, for sure -- getting browned in the sun meant "working class," and that simply wouldn't do! Do you suppose it also helped with pests like mosquitoes?

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    1. I would have thought it might even attract mosquitoes.

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  23. How observant and I bet you are correct. Women really did NOT let the sun touch there skin... by grandmother was always worried about the way we ran around in the sun and she always sought a shaded spot. I think tents like that are a great idea for today!

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    1. When we were young my parents were always very strict and going out in the sun without some sort of protection, and I've tried the same with my own kids. Living in the sub-tropics one has to be very careful

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  24. Oh to imagine how the people from these photos would react to the music and "poetry" of today. They may have been thinking the "thoughts," but they weren't saying the words. What will it be in another hundred years? Thinking of some of what I've seen people post on Facebook I think there are going to be a lot of completely humiliated great-great grandchildren.

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    1. The standard "norms" change all the time, as well as from place to place, but I think you're right. Hopefully all those FB posts won't be archived for too long!

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  25. That's odd!!
    You all seem to agree that these are flimsy and the least little breeze would flatten it down. But I see 6 ropes and presume there are 2 more behind,
    to anchor it to the ground. I would think this would be more resilient.

    Cute post, and unusually succinct for you!!
    ;)~
    HUGZ

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    1. Bruno - You obviously don't get the winds that we do.

      Yes, I must confess that I haven't had the time for my normal lengthier rambling excursions recently. Too much going on at the moment, I'm afraid.

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