Over a century before The Sartorialist was stopping fashionable people to capture their unique sense of style, photographer Edward Linley Sambourne (1844-1910) was documenting the street fashion of Edwardian England. Sambourne worked as chief cartoonist for the English magazine Punch, and as an illustrator. When he first picked up photography, it was to use as reference to improve upon his other arts, but soon it turned into an obsession.
(Above: Aug. 2, 1906 – Kensington Church Street)
Captured on the streets around his house at 18 Stafford Terrace in Kensington, London (now a museum), these images reveal a world of fashion still strongly influenced by the last days of the Victorian era. Here fashionable women go about their day in long dresses, tight fitting corsets, and hats so large even a slight breeze could send them soaring.
Like the work of many street photographers today, Sambourne’s candid photographs are refreshingly free from stiff poses or fashion that wouldn’t make it off the runway. If you were to walk down a Kensington street between 1905 and 1907, these are truly the fashions you would see.
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