Colouring My Mabey Family Past

An afternoon in 1937 comes back to life

The Mabey family at home, Branstone, Isle of Wight c.1937

When Val of “Colouring The Past” offered her followers a free colouring of a photograph, I jumped at the chance. Val selected this photograph of three generations of my Mother’s family, that first appeared in my post Your Dear Little Self, which I posted last August. I am so happy with the results! Val has done such a careful and sensitive restoration, these figures seem to glow with life. Val has meticulously followed the information I could give her about clothing, hair colour and the house and garden. I was able to give Val a copy of Albert’s hand-coloured photograph of my Mum, in the very same dress, that he took in 1937 – serendipitous to say the least.

I hope that you too like Val’s rendering of the photograph, and of course I encourage you to delve into the many fascinating works on her site. There is something hypnotic in the transformation of black and white images into ‘real’ colour – to me it’s as though the dream world of the past blooms and expands into life.

I see into my Mother’s childhood world, a world that of course I never knew. They are posing for my Grandmother, one spring afternoon, perhaps during the Easter weekend, at Headley House. There stands my Grandfather, standing tall, and by his standards informally dressed (as he is without a jacket). There sits my Great-Grandmother, in her habitual black and spotless white apron. My Great Aunt Frad beams at the camera, no doubt a cheeky quip on her lips. She lays a gentle hand upon my Mother’s arm, just to keep her still whilst the Brownie camera focuses and clicks. Then little Jeannie can go, go and find Blackie, go and play in the sunshine for a while, before she is called in to wash her hands for tea.

27 thoughts on “Colouring My Mabey Family Past”

  1. It came out well and I enjoyed working on it. I think your grandfather probably just took off his jacket – it seems to be a warm day. I do hope his hair is okay, my thought now is that it might have been darker with some grey. Thanks, Louise. πŸ™‚ (And my linking post is up, now).

    Liked by 3 people

      1. I think it must be American, I’ve never heard of it before! What I remember of my great Aunt as a child was that she was loving and entertaining, so your word suits her well.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I find your stories and letter excerpts fascinating. I have 4 crates of letters my mother exchanged with my father and others from the village where she grew up. The thought of getting through them is overwhelming – just trying to organize them by date took me months and I only made it through two years. Keep them coming – maybe they’ll also motivate me to revisit the crates…after my current two projects are complete:-).

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Yes it’s a labour of love – it’s so heartening to receive positive comments such as yours, thank you. I spent a long time sorting the ONE box of letters
      I have, so 4 will take some doing! That said, I have made some ‘mistakes’ in chronology when posting letters, but to me it doesn’t matter too much. I want to bring the writer back to life, for a moment in time, and I figure they won’t mind if I slip up on some dates!

      Liked by 4 people

  3. Val has really done an excellent job in colouring the photo – as far as I can remember at that time my father’s hair was still quite dark, so that looks about right to me.
    However, I must say that Auntie Frad was the most serious of his sisters and it’s most unlikely that she would be making a cheeky quip – more likely she is delighted that her favourite niece is with her.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. I enjoyed the post, the transformation of the photograph, and the comments, all in equal measure! I think the gentle hand on the arm of a child to stop him or her from moving is a universal gesture.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I think this is one of the most stunning colorizations I’ve ever seen! Wow! It looks so real, as if they will all start moving and talking right . . . now! I like your blog BTW!

    Liked by 1 person

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