StonelyPhoto20R, Reverse of 1880s cabinet card by John Blees of Jubbulpore, Rajasthan, India

This leather bound album was designed specifically for holding wedding photographs. The illustrated pages all show wedding bells, pink ribbons, stephanotis and jasmine flowers.  The tooling on the back cover shows clover (prosperity and happiness), two roses (for love) set around grapes (for fertility). The last is thistle which in Celtic regions represents devotion, strength and durability amongst other desirable characteristics.

But instead of a bride the album opens with a photograph of a stern faced woman holding a letter.    The placing of the image is deliberate and would have provided the cue for a verbal explanation of the story behind the photo.

No obvious celebration of a wedding appears at all. Six of the 24 photos were taken in India and others relate mainly to Kent. But the child with an umbrella is named  "Dorothy Violet Stonely age 4". The writing is crystal clear, no chance of reading the name any other way. (Its not Stanley).     

There is a Dorothy Stonely in the 1901 census who was the 6th child of John Stonely, Bellgrave Villa, Bellgrave Road, Wrexham. John is described as an employer and a hatter. Dorothy is wearing a particularly good hat in this photograph, so its possible this connection is correct. 

The other names in this album relate to the photographers and include Baudesson and Blees from India, Newton, Hutchinson, Pettingell, Simpson, Ramell and Flemons.