Before there was Scott Schumann, Tommy Ton, or even Bill Cunningham, there was Edward Linley Sambourne, an amateur photographer who captured the “street style” of London and Paris more than a century ago. The chief cartoonist for Punch, a British satirical magazine that shuttered in 2002, Sambourne offers a rare look at the candid side of Edwardian fashion.
Photography gave Sambourne the ability to use friends, family members, and professional models as references for his cartoons, according to the Library Time Machine, an archival blog operated by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. In the last decade of his life, he took his hobby to the streets.
It’s the “certain casual look” of Sambourne’s subjects that interest fashion historians most.
It’s the “certain casual look” of Sambourne’s subjects that interest fashion historians most, writes Dave Walker. “[It's] quite different from the formal image of Edwardian fashion you see in many textbooks and costume dramas,” he says. Sambourne may not have kept a style blog as we know it today, Walker adds, but he certainly came close.