This is a “photograph” of my great, great, great grandfather. His name is Richard Garstang and he was born in 1802 or 1806, there are two conflicting accounts, in Preston England. I figure this image is about 150-160 years old. He was my grandmother’s great grandfather. Anyway, we took the picture down when we had the house painted and one of my daughters knocked it over, breaking the glass, but not damaging the picture, thankfully. I got some museum quality UV protected glass for it and re-framed it in its ancient frame. I took the opportunity to make a high quality scan of it while it was out of the frame. The 1850s were early times for photography, and the image is heavily retouched with what I guess is watercolor. That’s why I put “photograph” in quotes. It’s almost more like a drawing. You have to look closely to see the faint photographic image behind the brush strokes. Here’s a detail to show what I mean:
The back of the picture says he was the “foreman of a weaving establishment, Blackburn, Eng.” I’m currently reading David Copperfield (the version I’m reading here, and the Amazon link for reviews, etc. here.), and it’s interesting for me to think about great, great, great Grandpa here living during those times in England, and being a contemporary of the author, Charles Dickens.
Richard is rather stern looking and my wife is a little spooked by Mr. Garstang’s steely gaze, so this complicates the issue of where we hang the picture. I hope he was happy. I know virtually nothing about him. The picture is an interesting thing, though.
Update 1/30/06: I did a little research on Blackburn and weavers during the mid-1800s and got this. It’s no wonder he looks a little surly. Those were horrible times: machines replacing human weavers, unemployment, riots, child labor. Perhaps that had something to do with his son coming to the United States? I may never know.
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