Many perceive the Victorian era as boring, ugly, and overly serious. The women stayed at home, wrapped in confining corsets hidden beneath several layers of heavy fabric and petticoats; men were usually decked out in waistcoats and ultra-shined patent-leather shoes. Given the constant discomfort Victorians undoubtedly experienced, many expect that Victorian photography will depict stone-faced, puritanical subjects, grimacing through repression and unnecessary fashion choices.
Some lesser-known photographic evidence, however, proves that Victorians acting silly not only happened, it looks a lot like funny pictures seen today. Despite popular notions of the mid- to late-19th century and early-20th century, the age of Queen Victoria – and early photography – was much more complex than some might think.