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Two Grandfathers, Should Have Been For Me

Oscar Preston (1846–1848)

In an age where many families lost children to a range of childhood diseases and illnesses, Joseph and Sarah Preston must have considered themselves fortunate, having produced nine healthy children.

But on Sunday 12 November 1848 at about half past one in the afternoon tragedy struck. Two-year-old Oscar was sent to the kitchen to be fed by his servant Maria Clark. Sitting in the yard was a tub of scalding hot water that had been used to boil a pudding. Somehow Oscar managed to fall into the tub and was badly burned. Every effort was made to save him, but he died the following day.

At the inquest several witnesses were called including Joseph Preston, his daughter Elizabeth then aged eight years, and his servant Maria Clark. The inquest recorded a verdict of accidental death.

The photographic age was just commencing at about the time Oscar Preston died.  A popular use of the photographic technology was memorial portraiture or ‘memento mori’ particularly in the case of dead children, like this unnamed child.
The photographic age was just commencing at about the time Oscar Preston died. A popular use of the photographic technology was memorial portraiture or ‘memento mori’ particularly in the case of dead children, like this unnamed child.

Copyright © Roar Film 2012 This material may be reproduced, communicated, published and adapted free of charge for non-commercial educational purposes.

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