Anyone with kids knows how incredibly difficult it is to get a good picture of your sweet smiling child. Now, imagine you're a mom of the Victorian age. Photographs are expensive. If you want to get your money's worth and get a nice picture of your sweet darling, you're going to have to be creative. And that's where "hidden mothers" come into play in Victorian photography. A "hidden mother" is either a child's mother or photographer's assistant draped in some sort of curtain or cloth while holding the child still during the photograph.
|Tintype with hidden mother in black 1880s-1900s|
Most of the time, these small Victorian photographs (tintypes) would have a mat around them that would essentially hide the hidden mother. But it's fascinating (and kind of creepy) to see a hidden mother or blob of black sheet holding up a baby in these pictures.
|Tintype with a not so hidden mother 1890s?|
|Hidden mother playing the part of a chair 1880s-1900s|
There are other pictures from this time period that have an even more twisted and macabre look to them. Post mortem Victorian photography. When a loved one died, family members often decided to remember them by taking a photograph. Sometimes the deceased would be lying on a bed or a couch as if they were sleeping. Other times they would be laid out in a coffin. The creepiest of these types of pictures are the ones where the departed looks to be alive. Sitting up and posed artificially as if to appear lifelike.
|Daguerreotype of a baby - Post Mortem? 1850s-1860s?|
|Some more framed daguerreotypes we have 1840s-1860s|
|No hidden mother in this tintype - cute kid though|
|Tintype of baby - hidden mother in the corner 1880s-1900s|