If you've ever looked at pictures from the Victorian era then you've probably noticed that nobody is smiling. Everybody looks so serious that it seems as if people in the 1800s simply didn't know how to have fun. But as these rare pictures prove, that wasn't always the case.


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There are many theories as to why Victorians always look so dour in pictures. Long exposure times made smiling difficult (and by long we mean several hours. Seriously. Ever tried smiling for several hours? It hurts) and the high cost of portraits gave people very little to smile about. Poor dental hygiene made people reluctant to show their teeth (or whatever teeth they had left), and let's not forget that many Victorians simply had it pretty rough back then. But as you can see from the pictures below, some still found something to smile about. (h/t: whizzpast)

#1 A Victorian Couple Trying Not To Laugh While Getting Their Portraits Done, 1890s

A Victorian Couple Trying Not To Laugh While Getting Their Portraits Done, 1890s

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Natalia Sanchez 6 months ago

There was a journalist / comedian called Jorge Ginsburg here in Argentina who looked just like this fellow.

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#2 Cakewalk Dance

Cakewalk Dance

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Renata Tufano Ho 6 months ago

'Cause this is thriller, thriller night...

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#3 A Unique Tea Setting For Two

A Unique Tea Setting For Two

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Damian Domski 6 months ago

I’ve heard of a C cup, & a D cup….but a “T cup”??!

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#4 A Snow Lady, 1892

A Snow Lady, 1892

The Strand magazine Report

Maria João Barata 6 months ago

Wow, is that a snow statue? Amazing!

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#5 Unusual Portrait Of A Victorian Lady, 1840

Unusual Portrait Of A Victorian Lady, 1840

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Annette Topits 6 months ago

Hahahahahaha!!! A woman after my own heart!

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#6 Three Fashionable Young Men At Yale, 1883

Three Fashionable Young Men At Yale, 1883

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Grace Koesling 6 months ago

Which bathroom did they let them use?

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#7 Awkward Family Photo, Victorian Edition

Awkward Family Photo, Victorian Edition

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Bitty Moran 6 months ago

That scary room though

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#8 Tsar Nicholas II Goofing Around, 1899

Tsar Nicholas II Goofing Around, 1899

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Tereza Skálová 6 months ago

They are playing old men!

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#9 Vintage Humor

Vintage Humor

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#10 Piggy Nose

Piggy Nose

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Marianne Heck 6 months ago

Nice Selfie at that time

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#11 Men And Women Cross Dress In This Silly Victorian Snap, 1880-1900

Men And Women Cross Dress In This Silly Victorian Snap, 1880-1900

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SarahofBorg 6 months ago

I can't even tell!

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#12 Say That Again, And I'll Dip You In, 1897

Say That Again, And I'll Dip You In, 1897

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Jovy Jergens 6 months ago

Timeless and sweet.

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#13 Unknown Victorian In Mid-jump

Unknown Victorian In Mid-jump

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Sherry Reign 6 months ago

jump shot before it was cool

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#14 Vacation Sports At The Seaside

Vacation Sports At The Seaside

Strohmeyer and Wyman Report

Lena Hunter 6 months ago

if this wasn't their normal beach attire, i'd say it was actually rather fashionable.

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#15 Richard Freiherr Von Krafft-Ebing

Richard Freiherr Von Krafft-Ebing

Krafft-Ebing Report

Ramon Burnet 6 months ago

He came op with the words sadism and masochism. And made a very popular book about sexual behaviors, partly in Latin so not every one could read it.. quote wiki: Krafft-Ebing's principal work is Psychopathia Sexualis: eine Klinisch-Forensische Studie (Sexual Psychopathy: A Clinical-Forensic Study), which was first published in 1886 and expanded in subsequent editions. The last edition from the hand of the author (the twelfth) contained a total of 238 case histories of human sexual behaviour.

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