The sisters

This cabinet card came to me from Bath, England, but it has nothing written on it to give us a clue as to its origins.  Two women stand protectively behind a third, who is seated in a wheelchair.  The three resemble each other so closely that they must be sisters.  Posed in a triangle, they create the impression of being a single unit, indivisible and inseparable.





Did you notice the fourth member of the group?



59 thoughts on “The sisters

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    1. I agree. It’s interesting that different people sometimes interpret facial expressions in different ways. Does that say something about the viewer? Is it because of a different cultural background? Some facial expressions are universal, but others are open to interpretation.

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  1. I notice the parrot resting on one of the sisters’ shoulder. With a barely noticeable smile on her face, the woman in the wheel chair looks so serene and calm. Only she wears the cross hinting religious belief.

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      1. I agree! I can sense the strength and close bond in their relationship. Although she sits in a wheelchair, there’s no sense of weakness or fragility in her expression. Have a good Friday/weekend! 😊

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  2. A well-to-do grouping of perhaps sisters from the look of their clothes. I think of the thousands of hand stitches it took to make their layered clothing. The garden carefully tended and with the apparent slight, chancy disorder the British love to cultivate.

    They look so sure of themselves: tight in their religious beliefs and proud of the goings-on in the British Empire, no doubt! Members of a Protestant sect, probably because I don’t think C of E generally display(ed) prominent crosses in the fashion of the woman in the wheelchair.

    I wonder what they would think of their country now!

    Interesting image of three women without men!

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    1. Thank you for your thoughtful comments, Sarah! I’m glad you mentioned their dresses, and especially the garden. Regarding the prominent cross, you make an interesting point about the Church of England which I hadn’t ever considered. In the photo, I’m intrigued by the fact that only one woman is wearing a cross. Did her sisters belong to a different church, or were they more private about their religious faith? The woman in the wheelchair may have turned to faith to help her cope with illness or disability.

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      1. You are probably right: the woman in the wheelchair may be wearing her cross prominently as a sign of her faith.

        I smiled at your ‘turned to faith’. They were all deeply in the faith – Anglicanism or Protestanism – and if they were turning anywhere – which is highly unlikely at this time – they would not have been turning to a faith but away from it in my biased view……….

        But it is a poignant photo of three women at the height of Britain’s empire and it panged my heart given the long and painful and continuing difficulty of that nation’s adaptation to their decline.

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  3. I’m not so sure there isn’t a man in the photo. Who’s that standing in the background, behind the women? It looks like a man to me, and he seems to have moved; at least, there’s a suggestion of movement in the exposure. Perhaps it’s a brother, who helped to bring the wheelchair woman outdoors, or a photographer’s assistant. I love their expressions. The one on the left seems a little stern and buttoned-up, but the one on the right is that one I’d want to talk to. Queen Victoria had a parrot as a pet. Perhaps that was the fashion then.

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    1. Linda, would you believe I hadn’t noticed that person in the background? It does look like a man, but we can’t be certain. Great observation! I had focused on the building and garden, but didn’t recognize anything that could provide clues about the location.

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  4. Interesting photo! I really like the garden and the terrace. My guess is that on the right is the mother of these two young ladies. The two-headed person who stands on the terrace makes me smile). I wonder where this wonderful parrot came from.

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    1. The little sun room is interesting, with so much glass. It looks too small to be very practical! Maybe it was used for garden seedlings on sunny days. We sometimes call a small room by the door a “mud room,” for taking off muddy boots, but this one seems to have a garden function.

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      1. Theoretically but not practically)) Most of all I love to grow pumpkin since I got a great pumpkin pie recipe from friends from overseas☺

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  5. I love this one Brad! I wonder at how carefully it was composed or if the photographer simply captured the moment well. There is a repetition of inverted pyramids that puts me at ease. The sisters themselves (they are certainly sisters 😊) of course. But then there’s also the roofline behind them, the tree to their right and even the overlay of the left sister’s dress. It gives a strong stability and comfort to the scene. The horizontal and vertical lines in the windows reminds me of an orderliness. The movement of the mystery person in back makes me giggle a bit. I could conjecture endlessly about who that might be (a fourth running to be included – hey wait! Don’t take the photo yet. Here I am…oops, too late 🙃). And I so agree about the sweet shoulder friend. Perhaps a Rosella. I understand they are quite friendly. It has most certainly whispered a hopeful message. It eases and comforts me all the way round to gaze upon it. A lovely moment. 🌷

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    1. Aww, thank you my dear! Your comments are beautiful as always. I looked up Rosella parrots and enjoyed the pictures of them online. I’ve never had a pet bird, but when I was a young teen, my mother raised a guinea hen from a chick, who bonded with her and liked to ride around on her shoulder. They made an interesting pair, since guinea hens aren’t supposed to do that sort of thing. Animals are endlessly fascinating and lovable! 😊

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  6. I love their dresses – they’re gorgeous.

    I hadn’t noticed the figure in the background until someone mentioned it in the comments. It looks like s/he is doing a double take!

    Is the parrot on a chain? I’m fascinated by the fact it’s not blurry. How on earth did a bird could sit still for so long while the exposure was completed…unless…

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  7. They do look to be closely united, and as you say, the two standing seem protective of the one in the wheelchair. They also have smiles and a twinkle in the eye – especially the one with the bird on her shoulder. A lovely trio. 🙂

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  8. Despite their somewhat stern expressions, I bet these three were a gas to hang out with. I bet being their grandchild/niece/nephew was never a dull moment. Probably plenty of forbidden treats!

    Liked by 2 people

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