Saturday, January 5, 2013

Our photo of Hannah Hughan ISN'T Hannah Hughan

The photo above has for many decades thought to be a wonderful photo of Hannah Oakley least, that is what it was identified as on the back. It had the stamp of 'Davies & Co, Photographers' on the back, a company who operated in Melbourne from as early as the 1860s.
  Another photograph seemed to complete a matching pair...this one was of a man wearing lairy trousers with a bold look in his eye...and both photos appeared to be sketched rather than photographed.

 Today I discovered a brilliant forum for helping people date and restore their old photographs, so I posted this photo of "Hannah Hughan" and the corresponding one of the mystery man, and the wonderful people on's 'Photograph Restoration & Dating forum' had solved the mystery in under an hour.

  Well..the reason why Hannah Hughan bore such a strong resemblence to Queen Victoria is that the photo IS of Queen Victoria!!!!!!! And the other photo is of her husband, Prince Albert!!!! How on earth the distinctive-looking Victoria could be designated as Hannah Hughan is anyone's guess...I never even suspected, despite the resemblance, although I did some time ago have a poke around other images of Victoria for comparison purposes. I though our "Hannah" was less fleshy around the jowls than Victoria, and that her Albert wouldn't have been seen dead in the outfit being worn by the man in our photo. wrong I was!!!

   Prue, one of the experts on the forum, as well as stating that she thought the photos were of Victoria and Albert, pointed out that "As the picture of the lady is a photograph of an engraving, it is unlikely to be your ancestor unless she was illustrious or otherwise important enough to warrant having an engraving done and then copied...that would be very rare."

 This advice sent me back into the archives of photographs of Queen Victoria and Albert, and once I started searching specifically for engravings, the matching photographs were located. They were identical to my photos, and were engravings done by D.J Pound, from photographs taken by John Jabez Edwin Paisley Mayall, photographer of the first carte-de-visite photograph of Queen Victoria taken in 1860.

So....the mystery of the bold man is solved, and Queen Victoria's rightful identity has been restored, all thanks to a brilliant website and the kindness of others in contributing their time and expertise to help out others in need of assistance and guidance.

  I have added this to my blog because of the importance of correcting this case of mistaken identity. I have had this photo of Queen Victoria posted on this blog for several years now as Hannah Hughan, and presumably there are people who have copied it into their own research as Hannah. I am hoping that these people will see this blog entry and remove her from their work for the sake of accuracy. I am also going to have to remove the photo from my Ancestry tree and try to contact those people who have pasted Queen Victoria into their own illustrious families.

  It really is quite hilarious that a photograph taken in Melbourne in the 1860s of a photograph of an engraving of a photo taken in London in 1860  ended up being falsely identified as an important member of our Hughan tree who bore a strong resemblance to Queen Victoria when in reality she was the Monarch herself!!!
  I just hope that the other identifications on the backs of photos in our old 19th century family albums are correct.....

No comments: