Victorian, Edwardian and George 5th U.K.

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A Photo from a British colony?


Here we have an interesting photo we have difficulties to interpret. It was found in a lot of UK photos. There are no inscriptions or a photographers mark. Also, the other photos in the lot did not provide any clue.
We see one adult man, four boys and two little children, presumably girls. The man wears somewhat safari-type clothes. The boys wear sailor suits, the younger children dresses. The man, the little child he is holding, and the two boys with lighter hair look European. The little boy in the middle is clearly Asian, probably South-East-Asian. The two children on the left might be biracial.
We guess the picture might have been taken in the 1890s.
Below the photo we have collected some guesses and thoughts. If anyone can say more we would be thankful for a message!

Ein Photo aus einer britischen Kolonie?

Hier haben wir ein interessantes Photo, dass uns Schwierigkeiten bei der Interpretation bereitet. Es wurde in einer Gruppe britischer Photos gefunden. Das Photo ist auf dünnen Karton montiert, worauf sich keinerlei Widmungen oder Vermerke finden lassen, nicht einmal ein Photographen-Vermerk. Auch die anderen Photos gaben keine Hinweise und schienen nichts mit diesem zu tun zu haben.
Das Bild zeigt einen erwachsenen Mann, vier Knaben und zwei kleine Kinder, wahrscheinlich Mädchen. Der Mann trägt einen Safari-artigen Anzug. Die Knaben tragen Matrosenanzüge und die kleinen Kinder Kleider. Der Mann, das kleine Kind, das er hält sowie die Knaben mit dem helleren Haar sehen europäisch aus. Der kleine Junge in der Mitte ist Asiate, vielleicht Südost-Asiate. Die zwei Kinder auf der linken Seiten mögen je ein asiatischen und ein europäisches Elternteil gehabt haben.
Wir vermuten, dass das Photo in den 1890ern aufgenommen wurde.
Unterhalb des Photos haben wir einige Meinungen und Gedanken (bislang nur in englisch) zu dem Bild gesammelt. Wer mehr zu diesen Photo weiß, wird gebeten, ihre/seine Informationen mit uns zu teilen.


Thoughts and guesses about the picture - the discussion so far

- "Taken in Thailand or Indonesia?"

- "Neat image. As to tracking it down, thats a bit difficult. A first thought is the Dutch in Indonesia, in part because I think there was more intermarriage there. But the children don't look right for Indonesia. Its not German, both because of the way the sailor scarves are tied and the Germans didn't have South-East-Asian colonies. And the children don't look right for the English in India. The children to me look South-East-Asian. That narrows it down a bit. Thailand was not colonized. So my guess is the French in Indochina or the British in Burma. I'm inclined to go with the French in Indochina, but of course that is just a guess on my part."

- "The (English) man might have lived with his own children in a British colony. Some South-East-Asian children of the neighbourhood might have been dressed up in western style clothing. The picture looks rather old. There is a heavy sepia tone. And the sailor suits look pre-1900. A first thought were the late 1880s but the 1890s seem to be more likely."

- "I doubt if anyone would have gone to the trouble to dress up neighborhood children. The curious thing to me is that while two of the younger children look biracial, the one he is holding does not. There might be two women in the man's life. While I would guess French, the fact that
it was with British photographs is strong evidence that it is British.

- "Just imagine the western lady of the house in Asia seeing some cute Asian children around the house, maybe orphans or just begging. Maybe she says "oh how cute, lets give them proper clothing". I am rather confident she felt superior. Well, I don't say it is like this, it is just a guess. Of course, there can be also two women in his life."

- "I suppose a possibility is that they are missonaries and took in orphans, but I do not think that was very common."

- You think the bigger boy on the left to be biracial. I am not so sure here. He does look different than the two other boys with dark hair, but I do not see Asian eyes. He looks to be rather French or Italian. But no matter how varied, they are clearly a family as seen by the three matching sailor suits as well as the ways the boys are holding the younger girls. Body language like this I think is telling. There are a lot of family images in which the children are very stiff and not touching each other as well."

- "Yes, the children do look close but another thing is the photo was not taken in a studio. So the whole scene looks far more relaxed."

Meinungen und Gedanken zum Bild

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