Dunedin

To Shave or Not to Shave

To mark the month of Movember I’ve got some prickly profile shots to share with you from my collection of 19th century Otago photographs, followed by a facial hair inspired parody written by a largely forgotten New Zealand poet.

Sadly, the photographs I’m about to share are orphans with little or no provenance.  They came in a large auction lot I bought and depict early settlers from Otago.  I bought the collection as I was particularly interested in this rare series of photographs of Freemasons.  Many of the beards from that series are also notable but today I wanted to share some of my other favourites from the rest of the collection.  They date from the 1860’s through to the 1890’s.

These long-lost beards haven’t been published before and the names of their owners have been lost to time but their impressive facial hair deserves to be remembered.

WARNING:  It can be difficult to identify exactly where their mustache ends and where their beard begins.  Some images may be disturbing.

Unknown Bearded Man
Lemuel Lyes Collection

Unknown Bearded Man
Lemuel Lyes Collection

Unknown Bearded Man
Lemuel Lyes Collection

Unknown Bearded Man
Lemuel Lyes Collection

Unknown Bearded Man
Lemuel Lyes Collection

Unknown Bearded Man
Lemuel Lyes Collection

Unknown Bearded Man
Lemuel Lyes Collection

Unknown Bearded Man
Lemuel Lyes Collection

If anyone happens to recognise any of these bearded gentlemen then please get in touch.

To complement these images I’d like to share a relevant parody written by a New Zealand poet in the 1880’s.  I believe that this could well be the first time it has been published in well over a century.  Enjoy!

From ‘The Pirate Chief, and the Mummy’s Complaint, with various Zealandian Poems’ by William Skey 1889.  Lemuel Lyes Collection.

The author of this work is a largely unknown New Zealand poet by the name of William Skey.  I stumbled across him while researching an earlier post about the electrification of Wellington.  If contemporary reviews are to believed then he has the dubious honour of being a contender for the title of New Zealand’s worst nineteenth century poet.

I’m currently researching the life and works of this forgotten New Zealand poet and will be sharing my findings (along with more of his lyrical genius) in upcoming posts.  He is too deliciously good/bad not to be shared so watch this space!

© Lemuel Lyes

8 replies »

  1. It’s always intriguing to look back at old styles. Nothing new under the sun, as it were. I guess the ‘short back and sides’ of the early-mid twentieth century was a reaction to ‘colonial hair’ just as ‘hippie hair’ was a reaction to the ‘short back and sides’!

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