- Museum classification:
- Images of Witchcraft
A photograph/postcard depicting a tea party for residents of the Hospital of the Holy and Undivided Trinity at Castle Rising in Norfolk c. 1900. The hospital or almshouse was established in 1610 to house 20 spinsters of 'good character', 'no common beggar, harlot, scold or drunkard' was allowed. The photo is part of series the most famous of which is usually entitled 'Jacobean Tea'.
The women sport dress that is usually associated with stereotypical witches. The 'sugar-loaf' hats and the more common pointed black hats are similar to 'charity dress' that other almshouse-women or bedewomen wore from the seventeenth century onwards.
The photograph is consciously trying to recreate a Jacobean theme and aesthetic. Many witch-trials revolved around an elderly woman, and it seems that this rather idiosyncratic style of dress became associated with the stereotypical image of the 'Witch' over time.
- Copyright ownership: