Mason, A. | Cabinet card depicting a female cyclist.

  •  Cabinet card depicting a female cyclist. 

    The cabinet card, essentially a larger version of the carte de visite, was a popular format for portraiture from the 1860s until the early years of the 20th century, when Brownies and other affordable cameras made it possible for people to take their own photographs. Meanwhile, the introduction of the safety bicycle in the 1890s had created a wave of interest in the sport, and women were especially keen on the freedom and power they offered. Some suffragettes argued that they could help upend traditional gender relations, and they contributed significantly to the reform of women’s dress. Suffragettes or not, cabinet cards photographs of women posing with their bicycles - usually dressed to the nines as in this example - became popular. The photographer who created this example, A. Mason, is not recorded, but his studio was in Herne Hill, and one wonders if he did a good trade with the cyclists using the velodrome. A charming record of women’s cycling history.

  • Herne Hill, London: A. Mason, c. 1900-1910.

    Cabinet card (165 x 108 mm). Gold bevelled edges. Remnants of an old sticker or ticket next to the photographer’s address. A few tiny spots and a minor scratch. Very good condition.