If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you may remember a post from last October titled School dog and her charges (UK). I had bought that CDV because the group portrait included a dog posing charmingly with students. Then, after scanning it, I had noticed that one of the girls was of mixed-race ancestry.
I bought the cabinet card above from a dealer in Texas, who had listed it online as a “racially integrated class, 1880s,” which seems about right. Fortunately the photographer is identified on the back: T.C. Turner of Islington, London. The British Museum lists him as Thomas Charles Turner (1839-1896), residing at 10, Barnsbury Park, London, from 1870 until his death. According to the back of the photo, he had two studios, one at that address and another at 17 Upper Street, Islington. It’s reasonable to assume that the school in the photo was in London or its environs.
The photo isn’t in great condition, but high-resolution scans allow us to see the girls and their teachers pretty well. Four women seated in the middle row near the center of the group look like teachers, as do three standing together in the back row. The students vary in age by ten years or more, and all are well-dressed. At least three of them, maybe more, appear to be mixed-race. Here are some close-ups:
The girl at the center below has been marked, but we can’t know if that was done on purpose or by accident:
Feel free to examine the whole image in high resolution: