Thursday, June 25

Thursday Drive: Cousin Maggie and Mrs Keppel

How cool is it to have a relative's studio portrait by the photographer of a king? I've never been curious about the photographer's imprint on old photos, but I will be from now on, at least for those from England.

"With best wishes for Christmas
and New Year from Cousin Maggie"
Studio imprint: Fearnsides Penrith

"Cousin Maggie" was Margaret SOWERBY, born 1887 in Penrith, daughter of my grandfather's uncle Thomas Sowerby and wife Jane (nee GRISDALE). She looks to be about 18 here, dating the photo at around 1905. It was sent to her cousins in Kansas: my gf Arthur and his siblings Ruth and Ike (Isaac), all not yet married and living at home.

In a short "drive" around the internet, I learned "Fearnsides" was Charles Fearnsides, a "stylish and gentlemanly" photographer represented in the National Portrait Gallery's collections.

But his biggest claim to fame was photographing King Edward. According to the 15th October 1905 edition of the Cumberland & Westmorland Herald, Mr. Fearnsides and a Mr. G. Reed of Penrith photographed the King at Brougham Hall with his host and hostess, Lord and Lady Brougham.

Afterward, His Majesty and the Broughams, accompanied by Mrs. Keppel, set out by motor car for Raby Castle. The paper also reported: "It was expected that His Majesty would inspect Lord Brougham's fine herd of Shorthorn cattle before leaving by train to return to London".

Mrs. Alice Keppel, of course, was Edward's last "official" mistress beginning back when he was still "Bertie", Prince of Wales. She was also the great-grandmother of the long-time mistress of the current Prince of Wales: Camilla, now Duchess of Cornwall.

Bertie was approaching 60 when he inherited the throne on the death of Queen Victoria, then the longest reigning British monarch in history. Bertie had been "in the wings" longer than any other heir apparent.

Prince Charles now holds that record, and his mother holds the record for longest reign. If Charles ever does become king, Mrs. Keppel's great-granddaughter will not be called "Queen Camilla", but Princess Consort.

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The Prodigal Tourist said...

Isn't Charles constitutionally barred from becoming King as well? Or was he released from all that when poor Diana died? Great post--and thanks for joining our travels!

Marie Reed said...

I just got back from a mini vacation and can't wait to catch up with your now very shabby chick blog!

JamaGenie said...

Prodigal Tourist, Charles can ascend the throne...if he outlives his mother. Even then, his reign looks to be a short one before Prince William succeeds him.

Marie, I can't wait to hear all about your mini-vacation!

Jean B. Duncan said...

I need to start paying attention to the photographers mark! Thanks for the inspiration.

JamaGenie said...

Jean, I was only being a good little genie and trying to verify Fearnsides' was in business in 1905!