A comforting presence

This cabinet card photograph came to me from Herefordshire, England, but could have originated elsewhere.  It has nothing written or printed on it.

Update (March 21): Readers quickly informed me that the man in the photo was a postman.  His hat has the letters GPO on it, for General Post Office.  (Thank you to Val, Sarah Abraham, and EMS!)

Update (March 31): In response to an email I sent, Susannah Coster at The Postal Museum, in London, narrowed the date range of the photo to 1900-1910:

The uniform the postman is wearing is the military style tunic or jacket and it looks like a single peaked shako hat or cap, which indicates the photograph was taken sometime between 1868-1910. However, it seems the cap badge was in use between 1900-1956, which narrows the time frame down to 1900-1910:

 

A comforting presence 3

 

Susannah also informed me that cats have been working for the Post Office since at least 1868!

 

A cat or a dog can be a great comfort.  They need a lot from us, but they give so much in return.  They make us better people.  And we never forget them, ever.

A comforting presence 2

 

Post last updated March 31, 2020.

 

48 thoughts on “A comforting presence

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      1. It’s three letters: G.P.O. It stands for General Post Office. Here are another couple of links with pics:

        https://www.curranddewar.com/auctions/200218/1913-gpo-postman-hat-425

        https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/General-Post-Office-GPO-script-monogram-Postman-Shoulder-Title-Cap-Badge-/283682893940

        I think your photo is earlier than 1913, but it should be easy enough to find out what date this particular uniform featured. Maybe email and ask the postal heritage museum?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Sarah Abraham said as much in her comment below, but I was doubtful because I honestly couldn’t see the letters in the emblem. However, you have all convinced me! I’ll write to the postal museum, which is temporarily closed but may still be responding to enquiries. Thank you again!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I do wish I still had my Dixie Rose — she was such a good companion, and would have brightened these days at home. If you want to have some fun, do an online search for ‘writers and their cats.’ It’s amazing how many famous ones adored their kitties, and how many portraits there are that resemble the one you’ve shared here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My theory is that dogs need more attention than cats (walks or letting in/out all day long). Writers and artists need to be able to focus for long periods of time without distraction, which can be hard to do as a dog owner. I’m sure there are plenty of other (less practical) theories about writers and cats!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh my, that’s a CAT!🙀😻 I think they have the same expression, they both look a bit grumpy but I imagine the man has a gentle heart and they seem to enjoy each other’s company. I don’t know if I can get my cat to sit still on my lap long enough for a photo (she doesn’t really like hugs), I’m impressed he did it.😸

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love this!
    When photography was new and not taken lightly, one must have thought long and hard about how they wanted to pose, to be captured for posterity. To be photographed with your cat? Unusual, I’m sure. I’m betting that cat was his most treasured companion of any species.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dogs sometimes appear in 19th c. portraits but cats almost never do. I’m sure their absence can be explained by their uncooperative nature or the fact that they’re harder to transport in towns or cities where studios were usually located. I think you’re absolutely right that this man wanted to be remembered with his cat. Chances are, this was the only pose printed by this anonymous photographer.

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      1. Indeed, they do. As a young woman I was heavily influenced by Haiku which by definition must show relationship between nature and human being. I never realized it completely, until nature became my refuge during trying times. The solace and metaphors nature has provided are inestimable for me. Thank you for asking 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. The man looks slightly sad to me. I wonder if he lives on his own. Have no idea when the photo was taken. During WW2 or postwar time…He seems to be focusing on something in front of him, the photographer? But still, he looks as if he’s in deep thoughts. It’s good he finds comfort in the little cat.

    I read the update, a post man he is. Thanks for sharing this photo with us, Brad. A glimpse into the past.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Isabelle! After updating the post, I corresponded with a very nice lady at The Postal Museum, in London. She narrowed down the date range of the photo to 1900-1910. I need to update the post again with that information.

      I hope you and your family are well! Are the kids going stir-crazy at home? 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for updating me with this, Brad. Between 1900-1910, not long before WW1 broke out though…
        It might just be my impression, I think I’ve traced the signs of harshness of life in his eyes.

        We’re coping with it ok. Thanks. The country is on lockdown. The kids are having online lessons. A quite unusual learning process for them and for us.

        I hope you and your family are well too. Please stay safe and take care. Sending best wishes 😊🎈

        Liked by 1 person

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