Sunday, March 31, 2024

To The Dogs

An elderly woman with a large number of dogs of various different breeds, some of them riding in a cart which she is pushing. Circa 1920s.

Saturday, March 30, 2024


A tired elderly woman sleeping on a British train.

Location and date unknown.

Friday, March 29, 2024

The Army Wants You

The Army Wants You

Blue Print for a fine career, 1960

What are YOU doing about EDUCATION? Army Education Poster, by Sgt H F (Fred) Darking (1911-1999), Royal Engineers. 1945

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Havelyn Elmer Chiasson

Havelyn Elmer Chiasson (1921 – 2019) from Miscou Island, New Brunswick – Canada, attended an English and French school while his father worked as a fisherman.

When the Second World War began in 1939, Chiasson enlisted in the Carleton and York Regiment in Bathurst before later becoming a member of the North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment.

He would serve with this unit until the end of the conflict as a radio operator.

On 4 May 1945, Chiasson’s Colonel asked him to send out a broadcast radio message that said: “Ceasefire! Don’t fire unless you are fired on!” These words, within a few hours, marked a ceasefire on the Western Front.

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Exhausted in Darlington

An exhausted conscript on Nation Service sleeps at Darlington Railway Station en rout to or from a posting to the Northern military base at Catterick, York. 

Painting by Malcolm Greensmith.

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Bomb Disposal

Bomb disposal is an explosives engineering profession using the process by which hazardous explosive devices are disabled or otherwise rendered safe. 

Bomb disposal is an all-encompassing term to describe the separate, but interrelated functions in the military fields of explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) and improvised explosive device disposal (IEDD), and the public safety roles of public safety bomb disposal (PSBD) and the bomb squad.


Monday, March 25, 2024

John Albok

John Albok (1894–1982) was a Hungarian photographer who immigrated to the United States and documented street scenes in New York City during the Great Depression and later.

Albok was born in Munkacs, Hungary, in what is now Ukraine. After apprenticing to a tailor from the ages of 13 to 17, he was drafted into the Hungarian army. He began photographing life in the hospital and prison where he worked. During the war, Albok's father killed himself and two of his sisters died of starvation. In 1921, Albok immigrated to the United States.

Albok worked as a tailor in a shop at 96th Street and Madison Avenue. He lived above the shop with his wife, fellow Hungarian Ilona Kiss, and their daughter, also named Ilona. He photographed street life primarily in his immediate neighbourhood for sixty years, until his death in 1982.

After winning a weekly photo contest held by the New York Herald Tribune in 1937, he captured the attention of Grace Mayer, photography curator at the Museum of the City of New York. His first solo show, Faces of the City, was held at the Museum in 1938.[3]

Today, Albok's work may be found in collections at the Museum of the City of New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Getty Museum, and many other institutions.

Sunday, March 24, 2024


Photo of unknown photographer and subject from the Getty Museum, likely from about 1880-1895. 

A man holding onto a wooden pole and leaning back towards a boat. He is resting one knee on a rock and one hand stretched out towards the row boat. He is wearing trousers with suspenders, a beret, and a necktie.

Saturday, March 23, 2024

Alfred Grévin

Alfred Grévin (1827 –1892) was a 19th-century caricaturist, best known during his lifetime for his caricature silhouettes of contemporary Parisian women. He was also a sculptor, cartoonist, and designed costumes and sets for popular theater.

He studied natural sciences and drawing at the College of Tonnerre. His first job was as an apprentice draughtsman for Paris à Lyon à la Méditerranée railways. In his free time, he would draw for fun.

In 1853 he moved to Paris. He put his cartooning talents at the service of the newspaper Le Gaulois, then headed by Arthur Meyer. He then went on to work for Le Journal amusant and Le Charivari. To supplement his meagre salary as a cartoonist and illustrator, he worked as a theatre costume designer, and wrote plays.

In 1881, Meyer had the idea, along with Alfred Grévin, to represent the personalities that made the front page of the news section as wax mannequins, which allowed visitors – in an era before photography was used in the press – to put a face to the names in the news. This was the beginning of the Musée Grévin, which opened its doors on 5 June 1882 and swiftly became successful. Grévin met Émile Zola on several occasions, whom he wanted to include a portrait of in his collections.

Grevin spent the final two years of his life paralyzed and died of a sudden stroke of apoplexy in 1892 at Saint-Mandé.

Friday, March 22, 2024

James Clarke Hook

James Clarke Hook RA (1819 –1907) was an English painter and etcher of marine, genre and historical scenes, and landscapes and an early British beret adept.

Hook was born in London, the son of James Hook, a draper and one time Judge of the Mixed Commission Court in Sierra Leone. His mother was the second daughter of Bible scholar Dr Adam Clarke – hence the painter's second name.

In 1836, Hook was admitted as a student to the Royal Academy, London, where he worked for three years.

A travelling studentship in painting was awarded to Hook for Rizpah watching the dead sons of Saul in 1846, and he went to Italy for three years, having married fellow artist, Rosalie Burton, before leaving England. Rosalie's diaries present vivid pictures of their life in Italy and later. Hook passed through Paris, worked diligently for some time in the Louvre, traversed Switzerland, and though he stayed only part of three years in Italy, gained much from studies of Titian and other Venetians.

 The influence of these old masters dominated the future coloration of Hooke's pictures, and he applied the artistic lessons learned from his travels to the painting of romantic subjects and those English themes of land and sea which became his trademarks.

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Paul Wolff

Though Paul Wolff formally studied medicine and became a physician, the French government that controlled Strasbourg after World War I restricted him from practicing. As a result, he turned to photography, an interest that had begun in his teenage years. Wolff had published his first portfolio, which contained romantic views of his hometown, in 1914. 

After the war he first worked as a camera operator, then as a free-lance photographer. In 1924 he co-founded the successful firm Wolff & Tritchler with his partner Alfred Tritchler.

Wolff won a Leica camera at the Frankfurt Photography Exhibition, which he then used to illustrate several books he wrote to popularize techniques using the small-format instrument. Not one to limit his subject matter, Wolff made portraits, landscapes, and still lives. He continued to photograph and to publish books on his use of the Leica camera until his death.

Wednesday, March 20, 2024


Further on the theme of Goats & Bérets: Buckriders.

Buckriders are a part of Southern Dutch and North-Eastern Belgian folklore. They were witches, who rode through the sky on the back of flying bucks provided to them by the Devil to rob and murder common people and church possessions.

Throughout the 18th century, groups of thieves and other criminals adopted the belief to frighten the inhabitants of southern Limburg, a province in the southern part of the Netherlands and in parts of what has become since eastern Belgium. Using the name "Bokkenrijders" (buckriders), these criminal bands launched raids across a region that included Limburg, and parts of modern-day Germany. In response to the robberies towns in Limburg started to build defences like moats around them and farms started to develop a closed square building style.

The trials against the buckriders differed from 'ordinary' criminal proceedings because in many cases a so-called 'ungodly oath' was involved ("I renounce God and swear submission to the Devil"). Once a year, they would visit their master, the Devil, on the 'Mook Heath.

The buckriders were feared and despised by the common people because of their ruthlessness and violence. The belief existed that the buckriders could travel fast and vast distances through the skies to rob in a widespread area. Commonly, the buckriders raided small communities, parsonages, churches and more remote farms. Hundreds of buckriders were convicted and sentenced to death.

Because of the link to the occult and witchcraft, authorities accused many potentially innocent men of being buckriders and the majority of suspects were tortured and subsequently convicted of crimes they initially denied having committed.

The buckriders were considered both criminals and witches that made a pact with the devil. The witch trials and robbery trials cannot be seen separately in that sense: the accusations always included both robbery and witchcraft.

It is estimated that between 425 and 468 men were executed between 1743 and 1796 on the conviction of being a Buckrider.

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Sarpur #2

Fishing for herring, 1936-1937
Girl with beret, by Geir Geirsson Zoëga 1885-1959

Three men walk through the gate of Fossvog Cemetery. 1955

Tugboat, 1936-1937

Unknown, 1930s-1950s

Reykjavik, unknown photographer 

Monday, March 18, 2024

Sarpur #1

Lying in the grass, by Sigurður Ásgrímsson 1911-1979

Sarpur is the Cultural and Historical Data Collection Service of Iceland and contains a large number of historic photographs of Icelanders with beret.

Smoking shelter at the tuberculosis asylum(!) at Reykja in Ölfus.1930-40
Slaughter of a sheep, 1943

Worker, by Freddy Laustsen 1916-2006

Father and son Benedikt and Sigurður Blöndal, Photo from 1964

Sunday, March 17, 2024


The Ófeigur beret is an Iceland made model, designed by Hildur Bolladóttir.
The beret is marketed as a "woman's beret", but personally I find it just as attractive for men to wear. 

An alternative Universel, the beret is fitted with a drawstring to adjust the size. 

The model is Hildur's daughter Hildur Margrét.