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The photographer EB Mowll was at 38 Manchester Road, Burnley in 1880.

The portrait is striking in its sophistication and import. It shows an attractive young woman shown in a three-quarter profile looking away from the camera with light boldly falling on the left side of her face – the right in shadow but with detail.

She has a composed but relaxed expression. Her hair appears is off her face braided to the back of her head in a chignon.

She wears neat stud earrings and her military style dark close-fitting buttoned jacket has a stiff white shirt collar enclosing her neck. A brooch with a U shape and running deer is at her throat.

She wears a neat bowler hat with a small sprig on the right side.

I have been trying to find out more about the dress reforms of the late nineteenth century that saw a mannish simplified jacket shirt and long skirt become fashionable. The inspiration had possibly come from women’s riding outfits.

Perhaps she is a member of an organisation.

The Salvation army women’s para-military uniform was also established in the 1880s. The portrait speaks of a very deliberate choice of personal appearance and also bold style of portraiture.

Not everyone expects to go in for a portrait for a semi shaded three quarter profile she is not it seems there to catch your eye but has her own path.

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A brooch with a U shape and running deer is at her throat.

     
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