Tag Archives: The Morbid The Merrier

Victorian Post Mortem Photography: photos with the dead. Myth or fact?

A fascinating story that regularly does the internet rounds is Victorian Post Mortem Photography.
Literally: Photos with people after they’ve died.

It often goes like this:
In the nineteenth century, it was a custom to take photos with recently deceased people, especially if a photograph has not been taken whilst they were still alive. These photos were called ”Post Mortem,” coming from Latin, meaning after death.  Sometimes also called memorial portraiture or a mourning portrait.

In one version of the story, it originated in England, when Queen Victoria asked to photograph the corpse of an acquaintance or a relative, so she could keep as a souvenir.
Soon after, this idea spread around the world, keeping a morbid reminder of loved ones that have passed on.  These photographs served as keepsakes to remember the deceased, helping in mourning and grieving.

Post Mortem Victorian photography of the recently deceased
One of the photos that accompanies the story.  The colour of her hands is the proof given that the girl who is standing in the photo is the one who is dead.

But is it true?

Well no… and yes.

Continue reading Victorian Post Mortem Photography: photos with the dead. Myth or fact?