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Just a Quiet Afternoon in the Parlor? Presents 
Historic Portsmouth #359

Wouldn’t you like to know more about this family grouping? It is a Victorian parlor portrait of Josephine Cox Dennett, Ralph Cox, and Joseph E. Cox, perhaps taken in Kittery. The photographer has done some careful arranging and lighting. We can see from other photos that a stove and knick-knack shelf have been covered to the left. (Continued below)


The clutter of furniture has been cleared to the sides off-camera. The piano legs have been polished and the top nicely draped, although one tassel is brushing up against the shoulder of the younger Mr. Cox. The family is dressed in their Sunday best and there appears to be something metal holding down the woman’s long dress. Was it blowing in the breeze?  The single button on the old coat of Joseph Cox has been tied shut. His hands may show a touch of arthritis, perhaps from a career as a craftsman? He is seated on a cushion in a rocking chair. Notice how the younger man’s left arm is draped around the back of the chair, perhaps to prevent the rocker from rocking during the long photo exposure. If every picture tells a story – what’s the story here?  Inquiring minds want to know. (Courtesy of the Portsmouth Athenaeum)




Photo (c) Portsmouth Athenaeum on



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Wednesday, February 21, 2018 
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