This photo courtesy of my fourth cousin, Kathy, shows her great-great grandfather, John Inglis (brother of my own great-great grandfather) and his wife, Agnes, in formal pose in their equally formal Victorian garden.
Click on image to enlarge
I´ve noticed that many photos from that era show the husband standing behind his seated wife and it´s repeated in the photo of the same couple which I´ve tucked behind the frame. I can think of several possible reasons for this. Perhaps to show the ascendancy of the husband over his wife? After all, women had few rights during that period and the man was definitely the boss in every respect. Or maybe, more kindly, to show protectiveness towards feminine frailty? My own personal theory is that poor Agnes, constricted by her stays and whalebone corset, would have been unable to stand still for long enough to have her photo taken without collapsing with a fit of the vapours and having to be revived by smelling salts.
Under the circumstances, I know I would!