This photograph turns up on the net quite a bit. It’s usually tagged as being post mortem – although not always – but I’ve yet to find any background information for it.
Putting my usual scepticism aside for once, I’m inclined to think that yes, this might be a post mortem image. The boy on the left has a strange expression on his face, don’t you think?
If you look carefully at the boy’s waist, there is a line. It might well be the trim of his velvet coat, but as it matches up with a second line that’s just visible to the left of his arm (as we’re looking at the photo), I’m wondering if he has maybe been tied to the chair?
The middle boy does appear to be giving what I presume to be his brother a slightly dubious look, and the smallest child just looks, well…resigned, bless him.
The boat is also very awkwardly propped between the subjects, with no one actually holding it.
Anyway, those are my thoughts. What do you think?