Europe, early 20th Century. Black and white photo postcard of young woman lying in state in an open coffin covered by fine lace netting and surrounded by mourners. Two young women of a similar age to the deceased hold a massive bouquet of flowers. An older woman wearing a head scarf stands by the head of the coffin. The women are flanked by two men and three children and there are many more mourners gathered in the background. Appears to have been taken outdoors, possibly at the graveside. Slight edgewear, numerical note in pencil to verso. Near fine. Item #360
This memorial postcard is a European example (acquired from Latvia) and appears to be early twentieth century. It is a particularly beautiful image with floral tributes and lace coverlet countering the grim and grieving expressions of the mourners, and accentuating the youth of the deceased. Mourning portraiture depicting the deceased in an open coffin and with a large gathering of mourners are generally later examples of what was a predominately nineteenth century tradition. The practice of in memoriam photography continues today but developments in technology that make photography a univeral hobby coupled with modern (Western) death anxiety mean that few families employ professional photographers for the task today.