post mortem (children)

Mostly Victorian post mortem photographs of children. Click images to enlarge


23 Responses to post mortem (children)

  1. Gee Smith says:

    I think, what a lot of people who regard these pictures as morbid do no realise that these photo’s may have been the only photo’s of the child the parents would ever have……we are so lucky now with all our technology, I have 2 photo’s of my Grandson and he’s not eve born yet! Whereas in those days people may have only one or two photo’s of their families. To lose a child, for me must be the most terrible of all griefs and these photo’s would bring comfort. Xxxx.

    • kady says:

      I have been drawn to looking at postmortem photography for several years the pictures are so haunting and sad. It is frightening to think that your children could be taken from you so easily. I get fed up sometimes with problems of the modern world but when I look back on these pictures from the past it reminds me of how good it is just to take some things for granted.
      It is also touches me how some of the children, you can tell, were taken quickly and look healthy, like they are sleeping and others you can see the pain and illness in their faces. I feel that this is an important window back into part of our heritage. Showing glimpses of a past filled with both love and tragedy .

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  9. Linda says:

    Why aren’t any photos of Rosalia Lombardo included on this site?!

    • Violet says:

      Well isn’t that a ridiculous omission?! Someone did send me a link to the details of the case a while ago but I completely forgot to put it up and it’s slipped my mind ever since.

      I’ll make sure she’s added in the next couple of days. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment :) V x

  10. Clare says:

    I don’t find these photos morbid, I find them incredibly sad. To think that the only record many people had of their lost loved ones, especially children, were post mortem makes me realise how fortunate we are today to have point-and-shoot technology. In image 37, it looks to me as if the father was also deceased perhaps? The way his left hand is resting, not really holding his child and the fact that his eyes appear somewhat cloudy makes me think perhaps both he and his child passed away.

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  13. G says:
    This page is in norwegian, but you can always translate it :) the picture is of a Norwegian child, but it doesnt say when, or if its a boy or a girl.
    Seems like the original is located at a cultural museum.

  14. Desirae says:

    I’m fascinated by these photos and while it is a bit morbid I think it’s a way to glimpse back in time to see how our ancestors lived. Also I LOVE this site, this is the largest collection of Victorian memento Mori photos I’ve found yet. Good work!!

    • Violet says:

      Hi :) I have! Repubblica emailed me this morning and asked some questions. Unfortunately they omitted the vast majority of the information I gave them. Gotta love the media (or not) ;) Thanks for getting in touch – I do usually miss seeing mentions of the Skull in the papers, so always appreciate a heads up :) Vi x

  15. Michael R. Kennedy PhD, MS says:

    Having studied memento mori for several years, this is one of the most comprehensive and realistic collection of post mortem photography I have seen. I have visited hundreds of web-sites and read numerous periodicals and studied many books on the subject, and noticed that there are differing opinions on what photographs are actually post mortem or pre mortem, with many passionate disagreements, representing each side of the spectrum. In my judgment, each photograph shown on this site clearly represents the sadness, misery, and despair that many families endured, as a result of losing a dear loved-one, so early in life. I cannot imagine, having to rely only on my memory to recollect a child’s face and features, making me clearly understand and appreciate the practice of the Victorian period post mortem photography. Having not lived in this era, it is difficult for most of us to comprehend this observance, nonetheless, I believe it is a beautiful and reverent custom, allowing the remaining family members to remember their lost loved-ones. Thank you for an excellent representation on the subject.

    • Violet says:

      And thank you for your very kind comments, Michael. It’s lovely to know that people appreciate these old photos, and even though I don’t myself own the prints, I do think it’s worthwhile endeavour trying to keep at least some of them together in electronic form :) Thanks again. Violet

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