About Victorian Mourning Photos
Victorian mourning photos are rare images depicting loved one's reactions following an individual's death. They were taken during the 19th century and the reign of England's Queen Victoria (1837-1901). Many are keepsakes handed down through generations, while others were gathered by hobbyists or antique collectors. The 19th century was the first era documented with photographs, since the camera was invented less than 100 years earlier.
This gallery shows the many sides of mourning during the Victorian era. Pay close attention to facial emotions as well as clothing and settings.
Man's Best Friend
This proud pooch obviously never wanted to leave its master's side. Even in death, the dog remained loyal. This photograph is from around 1912.
In another early 20th century image, this Victorian mourning photo depicts a widow grieving her deceased husband. During this era, widows were expected to grieve for 2 1/2 years.
Mourning for Mother
This is an 1890 image of a daughter visiting her deceased mother's grave in Lake City, Minnesota.
Gathering to Grieve
These five women are shown in different mourning poses during the 1870s. During the Victorian era, funerals were large and, many times, professional mourners were hired to take part in funeral procession.
Widow in Full Mourning
This Victorian mourning photo is from 1855. The widow is in full mourning dress with an outfit that is all black, including gloves and a bonnet. Because of the photo's quality, it is unclear whether the garment is made from crape, cashmere, or wool, which were the fabrics usually worn during the first year and a day in a widow's 2 1/2-year mourning period. After this time frame, women still wore dark clothing, but were allowed to start brightening up with fancier fabrics, jewelry, and other types of bonnets.
This is an illustration from The Family Friend, published in 1880. It shows one women comforting another during her time of mourning.
A women in full mourning posed for a family photo, although the sadness on her face shows just how bereaved she really was.
Besides images of individuals grieving, many 19th century mourning photos also include headstones and monuments. This Victorian monument of a young girl dates back to mid-1800s. Many other types of headstones from era include angels.