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Charming black and white pictures show the Victorians casting off their stern image and smiling

The Victorian era is often thought of as a tough period of squalid living conditions, a high crime rate and stern expressions.

But a historian has showcased a new side to our ancestors in a charming set of black and white photographs of them smiling.

Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones, an author and professor of ancient history at Cardiff University, posted the images on his Twitter page.

He even found one of the notoriously stony Queen Victoria – who is remembered for the phrase ‘we are not amused’ – grinning.

The pictures, which would likely have been taken on a bellows camera between the 1850s and the end of the century show people from all walks of life, including housemaids, gentlemen, and, of course, the monarch herself.

Prof Llewellyn-Jones found the shots on Google, using search terms such as ‘laughing’ or ‘smiling’ Victorians.

He said one of the reasons for the usually stiff poses in Victorian photography was due to poor dental hygiene – hence a reason to hide their teeth – and the long exposure cameras.

Prof Llewellyn-Jones said: ‘There are lots of myths about the Victorians being prude, unsmiling, stiffs.’

But he added: ‘They are shattered by these photographs I’ve been happily discovering of them smiling, and goofing around. And there are many more to be found.’

And Dr Bob Nicholson, who is an expert in Victorian humour at Edge Hill University, told MailOnline: ‘We tend to think of the Victorians as a rather dour and humourless bunch, but laughter and comedy were actually a really important part of Victorian culture.’

He added: ‘There’s no conclusive evidence that Queen Victoria ever proclaimed that ”we are not amused”. In fact, her diaries reveal that she loved a laugh – she often recorded incidents and conversations that made her and her friends chuckle.’

Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones, an author and professor of ancient history at Cardiff University, posted the images on his Twitter page – and even found one of the notoriously stony Queen Victoria (picture in 1892 in an an open carriage) grinning

A man pulls a funny face for his photograph

Another man smiles as he appears to eat using chopsticks

A man pulls a funny face for his photograph (left) as another smiles as he appears to eat using chopsticks (right) in these undated shots. The historian has showcased a new side to our ancestors in these charming set of black and white photographs of them smiling

A woman grins as she looks into the distance

A gentleman sits upright and smiles for his photograph

The pictures, which would likely have been taken on a bellows camera between the 1850s and the end of the century show people from all walks of life, including housemaids, gentlemen (right) and gentlewomen (left), and, of course, the monarch herself

A young woman smiles in a white dress

A lady pulls on her bonnet in her portrait

Prof Llewellyn-Jones found the happy shots on Google, using search terms such as ‘laughing’ or ‘smiling’ Victorians. He said: ‘Another myth to explode is the notion that taking a photograph was an arduous, prolonged task. These happy shots suggest otherwise.’ Pictured: A young woman smiles in a white dress (left), while an older lady pulls on her bonnet in her portrait (right)

Prof Llewellyn-Jones said: 'My favourites are the snaps taken by ordinary people - at the seaside (pictured), with colleagues and friends, just being happy...'

Prof Llewellyn-Jones said: ‘My favourites are the snaps taken by ordinary people – at the seaside (pictured), with colleagues and friends, just being happy…’

A man with a moustache and who appears to be his wife take a serious photograph before making each other laugh. The woman hides her face in his coat in the last shot (bottom right)

A man with a moustache and who appears to be his wife take a serious photograph before making each other laugh. The woman hides her face in his coat in the last shot (bottom right) 

Some people are believe to have taken snuff to calm the nerves before having their pictures taken

The smokeless tobacco is made from ground or pulverised tobacco leaves and is inhaled, or snuffed, through the nose

Some people are believe to have taken snuff to calm the nerves before having their pictures taken (shown). The smokeless tobacco is made from ground or pulverised tobacco leaves and is inhaled, or snuffed, through the nose

Tsar Nicholas II is pictured messing around in a garden in 1899. The monarch is pictured left with his cousin Prince Nicolaos of Greece and Grand Duke Boris Vladimirovich

Tsar Nicholas II is pictured messing around in a garden in 1899. The monarch is pictured left with his cousin Prince Nicolaos of Greece and Grand Duke Boris Vladimirovich

Nobles from the time smile for the camera as they embrace

A laughing Princess Mary of Teck, later Queen consort

A laughing Princess Mary of Teck, later Queen consort, (right) and other nobles (left) were all seen enjoying themselves despite the hardships of Victorian Britain

One woman smiles while wearing large headpiece

Another pulls a piggy face during her portrait dating from the Victorian period

One woman smiles while wearing large headpiece (left) as another pulls a piggy face during her portrait dating from the Victorian period

Ordinary Victorians don swimsuits as they enjoy a day out by the beach (pictured). Blackpool and Southend were two of the most popular holiday destinations during the 1800s

Ordinary Victorians don swimsuits as they enjoy a day out by the beach (pictured). Blackpool and Southend were two of the most popular holiday destinations during the 1800s

Two women and a man wearing their best clothes lark around as they balance on a plank of wood in Victorian Britain

Two women and a man wearing their best clothes lark around as they balance on a plank of wood in Victorian Britain

Chambermaids embrace as they smile for the camera in this undated photograph from the Victorian period. One woman (top right) lets out a big grin as she appears to find something funny out of shot

Chambermaids embrace as they smile for the camera in this undated photograph from the Victorian period. One woman (top right) lets out a big grin as she appears to find something funny out of shot

One woman relaxes with her hands behind her head as she sits on a bench

Prof Llewellyn-Jones said: 'There are lots of myths about the Victorians being prude, unsmiling, stiffs.' But he added: 'They are shattered by these photographs I've been happily discovering of them smiling, and goofing around. And there are many more to be found'

Prof Llewellyn-Jones said: ‘There are lots of myths about the Victorians being prude, unsmiling, stiffs.’ But he added: ‘They are shattered by these photographs I’ve been happily discovering of them smiling, and goofing around. And there are many more to be found’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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