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Clues • Mourning

Used to date photograph from a known death or find a death from the estimated date of a photograph.
The schoolboy on the left wears a black armband still recognised as a sign of mourning.

The soldier on the right has a black silk cover on one of his brass buttons.
This indicates a family death not a military death.
Troops on the Western front 1914-18 were often sent home for funerals of very close relatives.

• Note:Soldiers in most Rifle Regiments wore black horn buttons

Dark clothing especially on younger people can often indicate mourning but it would be too easy to jump to conclusions.
In black & white photographs dark colours except blue often appear as black.
Throughout the first half of the twentieth century dark clothing was the choice for daily wear. Dry cleaning was not available and laundry was difficult and unpredictable. In working class households dresses would be changed at most once a week and aprons worn when working in the home. The absence of a Mother in a photo which includes Father is ominous.
The dark clothing can but does not always indicate recent deaths in the family
Black clothing on very small children probably does indicate a family death.

Above photo by Hare of Bridport •  •  •Inscribed :Lizzie, Alice and Aggie in mourning for their Mother