This attractive couple was found among the other Rudd family photographs, and so I assume there is some connection, although I have as yet to make it. The woman’s dress is a beautiful example of late 1870s Natural Form trending to the Late Bustle period. The many layers of pleating are amazing, and it must have taken many hours to complete them all so perfectly. I learned recently that a trick to keeping pleats set is to steam them with vinegar!
Notice the gentleman’s trousers have some type of pattern in them. They were likely some kind of wool or wool blend in a particular weave. Many of these fabrics are lost to us now because the raw materials to make them have either changed significantly, disappeared entirely, or the mill that made the fabric has closed without transferring the method. For a historian or even history enthusiast, it is truly sad that we cannot examine the types of common items from the era of interest.
This couple was photographed by Payne Stanton & Co. in the Elite Gallery in the Temple Block, Los Angeles, Cal. The Temple Block was named not for a house of worship, but for Jonathan Temple (1796-1866) who was Los Angeles’s first land developer. His family and the Workman family were among the first Americans to emigrate to Pueblo Los Angeles when the area was still under Mexican control in the 1820s and 30s. The Temple Block was built in the late 1850s at the corners of Main Street, Temple Avenue and Spring Street. The three streets are still at the center of Los Angeles, with the now-iconic City Hall building having replaced the Temple Block in the 1920s. The Workman-Temple Homestead remains today as a historical landmark attesting to the importance of the family to California history. California’s last Mexican governor, Pio Pico, is buried in the family cemetery at the homestead. Furthermore, in the area, local schools, parks, streets and other points of interest carry the Workman and Temple names.