Children of the Victorian Era, Post-Mortem

If you notice a sleeping or vacantly-staring figure in an antique photograph, it might not strike you to wonder if the subject is even alive. In the 21st century, we rarely see photographs of the dead that are not connected with crime scenes or accidents; dead relatives are instantly removed to funeral homes, where their bodies are embalmed by well-paid specialists. The Victorians, however, were not so disconnected from death, and a common practice was to have portraits taken of the recently-deceased. In these post-mortem photographs, the dead may appear in coffins, but were also quite frequently arranged among family in lifelike poses. As it was a period of extremely high child mortality, images like the ones in this video were often the only keepsakes 19th century families had by which to remember their short-lived sons and daughters:

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