We recently shared some color photographs from the 1930s and 1940s that do a great job of giving a sense of what life was really like in the United States toward the end of the Great Depression. While those images represent one valuable aspect of early color photos, we wanted to share another, even older, set that's just plain gorgeous.
Taken using the Autochrome process—which created color photographs by combining multiple monochrome photographic negatives into one final multicolor image—these stunning images were taken by British engineer and photographer Mervyn O'Gorman. The crazy part? O'Gorman took these photos in 1913.
The young woman featured in the photographs was for over a century known only by her first name, Christina. While Christina is frequently identified as O'Gorman's daughter, the photographer actually had no children. In fact, it wasn't until 2015 that Christina's real identity was uncovered when a British man found previously unseen images of the girl among old family memorabilia. As the National Media Museum explains:
Christina’s full name was Christina Elizabeth Frances Bevan. She was born in Harrow on 8 March, 1897 and died in 1981. Christina was the daughter of Edwyn Robert Bevan (1870-1943), a prominent philosopher, writer on comparative religions and lecturer in Hellenistic Studies at King’s College, London... The Bevan family lived at no. 6 Chelsea Embankment – just a two minute walk from the O’Gorman’s home at 21 Embankment Gardens. The precise relationship between the two families still needs to be explored – perhaps Edwyn and Mervyn were members of the same club, or perhaps they shared a mutual interest in automobiles. Perhaps Mervyn O’Gorman’s wife, Florence, and Daisy were friends.