Footmen and Postillion at the Royal Mews, date unknown,
Photographed by Christina Broom. ID no. 2014.2/1356
The man who contacted me told how he had long
known about Mrs Broom from the stories his father had shared with him of his
time living in the Mews. He and his siblings had even helped Broom out on her
stall, acting as her ‘representatives’ and sharing her business cards with
potential customers. Their father, the Postillion, helped sell postcards of
himself made by Broom to tourists.
Broom had become well acquainted with the
family. She had photographed them several times, and those photographs had been
passed down the generations. An email exchange allowed me to see some of these
and others documenting life at the Mews. They are tender, warm images,
projecting quite clearly that longstanding relationship Broom had nurtured over
the years working there.
The museum holds several thousand Broom
images, including many of the Royal Mews staff. I had selected these particular
ones for the exhibition and book because of the strong compositions and detail
within the uniforms. Thanks to the descendant’s interest, this photograph helped to
reinforce my impression of Broom’s working relationships and provide rare
snippets of her practice.