Swimming Class in Brighton, 1871

Here are two versions of a picture of a swimming lesson on Brighton beach. The  picture at the top was published in The Graphic newspaper on 23 September 1871.

Spot the difference

It’s quite likely that the image printed by The Graphic was adapted from the colour version. A clue is in the composition: the balloons on the left are a colourful wonder in one, but indiscernible shapes in the published version.

The changes are fascinating. The most obvious is that the woman leading the class (who is very reminiscent of portraits of Brighton ‘dipper’ Martha Gunn) has been replaced by a man in the published version — but there are plenty of others.

Spend a bit of time comparing and contrasting, and see what differences you can find.

Aside from the differences, both images share one similarity: in spite of depicting a swimming lesson, no one appears to be actually swimming.

Author: Kevin Bacon, Digital Manager

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