When you think of old photos or historical pictures, you naturally think in terms of black and white, but as you can see from these stunning vintage photos from the turn of the 20th century, color pictures have been around for a lot longer than you think.

Before 1907, if you wanted a color photograph, you (well, a professional colorist) basically had to color it using different dyes and pigments. Still, two French brothers called Auguste and Louis Lumière revolutionized all that with a game-changing process that they called the Autochrome Lumière. Using dyed grains of potato starch and light-sensitive emulsion, they could produce color in vintage photography without the need for additional colorization. Despite being difficult to manufacture and somewhat expensive, the process was very popular among amateur photographers. As a result, one of the world's first books of color photography was published using the Autochrome Lumière technique.

The brothers revolutionized the world of color photography until Kodak took things to a whole new level with the invention of Kodachrome film in 1935, a lighter and more convenient alternative that quickly made the Autochrome Lumière obsolete (although its popularity continued in France up until the 1950s). Kodachrome was also eventually overtaken by the rise of digital photography (Kodak stopped manufacturing Kodachrome in 2009), which is now by far the world's most popular way to take pictures. Still, modern advances in photographic technology wouldn't have been possible without the hard work of early pioneers like Auguste and Louis Lumière. Scroll down for a collection of stunning historical photos in color using their groundbreaking technique.

#1

Christina In Red, 1913

Christina In Red, 1913

Mervyn O’Gorman Report

Nancy E
Community Member
4 years ago

I know she is wearing a bathing suit . What a difference in mores' today !

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#2

Flower Street Vendor, Paris, 1914

Flower Street Vendor, Paris, 1914

Albert Kahn Report

varwenea
Community Member
4 years ago

This is beautiful.

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#3

Heinz And Eva On The Hillside, 1925

Heinz And Eva On The Hillside, 1925

Friedrich Paneth Report

Nancy E
Community Member
4 years ago

Ah, so very perfect !

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#4

Sisters Sitting In A Garden Tying Roses Together, 1911

Sisters Sitting In A Garden Tying Roses Together, 1911

Etheldreda Janet Laing Report

Audrey
Community Member
4 years ago

So beautiful clothes

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#5

Moulin Rouge, Paris, 1914

Moulin Rouge, Paris, 1914

Albert Kahn Report

John L
Community Member
4 years ago

Its just too bad that those wonderful buildings on left and right are no longer standing. :(

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#6

Daydreams, 1909

Daydreams, 1909

John Cimon Warburg Report

CultOfBambi
Community Member
4 years ago

She could almost be an Alphonse Mucha model.

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#7

Musing (Mrs. A. Van Besten), C. 1910

Musing (Mrs. A. Van Besten), C. 1910

Alfonse Van Besten Report

xpurinx
Community Member
4 years ago

Wow, stunning! You'd think it's a painting.

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#8

The Eiffel Tower, Paris, 1914

The Eiffel Tower, Paris, 1914

Albert Kahn Report

Ani Asnever
Community Member
4 years ago

Wow! This photo is most remarkable for the shot of the old Trocadero palace, seen through the tower's arch! It hasn't been there for 80 years.

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#9

A Girl Holds A Doll Next To Soldiers' Equipment In Reims, France, 1917

A Girl Holds A Doll Next To Soldiers' Equipment In Reims, France, 1917

Fernand Cuville Report

Diksha Deshpande
Community Member
4 years ago

Just imagine the story behind this!

Oscar
Community Member
4 years ago

You could write a whole novel based of this one picture!

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Ged Maybury
Community Member
4 years ago

"Just imagine the story behind this!" - Diksha Deshpande (one day ago). Hmmm.... Something that's easy to forget is that photographers almost always set these up. Especially in pre-digital days when one exposure carried a considerable monetary cost, the photo had to have *impact*, it had to tell a story. but maybe the story here was simply this: The military equipment was stacked here. The photographer asked the girl to sit with her doll, and also asked the soldiers to step out of frame. The were happy to oblige (photographers have a lot of power!), and the exposure was taken. Everyone around thought it was a good lark. Girl went home. Probably never saw it.

Maureen Loosemore
Community Member
2 years ago

That is a good observation about the value of a single photo in those days, and probably spot on about what happened... maybe a couple soldiers waiting at a bus stop or something. Ah those Berthier rifles... who but the French would go through the effort to design a repeating combat rifle, then give it 3 shot capacity?

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Nikki Deleon
Community Member
4 years ago

This was the public norm, imagine that

Linda Carmody
Community Member
2 years ago

So poignant.

Tim Foster
Community Member
4 years ago

"Hey kid, can you watch my stuff for a minute?"

Cathie Bingham Drapalikova Jarvis
Community Member
2 years ago

I love this! My great uncle was there in WW1. KIA on July 28, 1918

Gabrielle Hodge
Community Member
2 years ago

You can't help feeling something sad has happened

Maureen O'Donnell
Community Member
2 years ago

Heartbreaking -- innocence and the impulse to nurture in combination with the tools of conflict and war.

Curt Tilleraas
Community Member
2 years ago

So powerful. What a find!

Lori Bogen
Community Member
3 years ago

Sweet

BusLady
Community Member
3 years ago

Innocent child exposed to war.

Joyce Hearn
Community Member
3 years ago

Funny I looked at the soldiers equipment and thought wouldn't it be something if it belonged to my grandfather. The war in France was still ongoing, and he met my grandmother in Paris. And then you see a little girl outside playing with her doll, like everything is ok, and she is now safe. Apparently people could go on with activities while the war went on around them. Even if the photogrefer set it up the way things were going is what he captured. Soldiers making kids feel safe and who was responsible for it. My grandparents were married in Paris Dec 6 1918.

Jim Dunlop
Community Member
2 years ago

The equipment is French, was your Grandfather?

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Jeff Thies
Community Member
4 years ago

Without my doubt, the best pic of the group. It tells a story and has the colors of the time, which are lost to us. The others are largely beautiful images, but say nothing about the 1910's.

TC
Community Member
4 years ago

Daddy's going back to war...

Marcin Cieśluk
Community Member
4 years ago

Super ujęcie .

Arnie Slater
Community Member
4 years ago

Thought invoking!

Celeste Barber
Community Member
4 years ago

Her father's kit?

Arlene engel
Community Member
4 years ago

War and peace

Genevieve Gates
Community Member
4 years ago

Kids had such a great shoes back then :)

George Rozehnal
Community Member
4 years ago

Innocence vs war...

Melanie Deysenroth
Community Member
4 years ago

Sweet and sad at the same time.

Zenon Komorowski
Community Member
4 years ago

Where have all the flowers gone?

Zenon Komorowski
Community Member
4 years ago

Where have all the flowers gone?

Rose Hogue
Community Member
4 years ago

Tells a story of wartime France.

Barbara Connelly
Community Member
4 years ago

Innocence & guns:- What a contrast!

Ged Maybury
Community Member
4 years ago

Contrived, in all likelihood. See my other comment.

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Missy Finley
Community Member
4 years ago

Haunting...

Andy Blossy
Community Member
4 years ago

These are more then nostalgia , they're heart rending moments of time. Overall ,,female images that can completely dominate the hard edged perspective we see and hear so much throughout the political world. We need this more then ever !

Chuck Cirino
Community Member
4 years ago

One common observation... they all look miserable.

AugustaAdaHypatia
Community Member
4 years ago

Maybe the longer exposure times; no fun having to sit ages for a bossy photographer!

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Cathy Severson
Community Member
4 years ago

I would love the paint these. Who owns the copyright?

Billy Bucher
Community Member
4 years ago

What a stunning moment captured here !!!

Rob Elger
Community Member
4 years ago

Soldier taking a pic of his daughter or little sis.

rick hctep (Rick45)
Community Member
4 years ago

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Just shows you how many f***s they gave about defending their country leaving their guns laying about, today you would be getting locked up, the least they should have done was remove the bolt so the gun could not be used.

Maureen Loosemore
Community Member
2 years ago (edited)

Ever hear of World War 1? They had problems going on at the time that were a few orders of magnitude greater on the concern scale.

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Nancy E
Community Member
4 years ago

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I doubt gun control groups would much like this picture.

Dena O'Hare
Community Member
4 years ago

The soldier could leaves his guns there because the child is not an idiot. Can't say the same today.

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#10

The Grenata Street Army, 1915

The Grenata Street Army, 1915

Léon Gimpel Report

John L
Community Member
4 years ago

Obviously this picture was not taken in Berlin. :O

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#11

Among The First Coloured Pictures Ever Taken By Louis Lumière, 1907

Among The First Coloured Pictures Ever Taken By Louis Lumière, 1907

Mo Report

Audrey
Community Member
4 years ago

Looks like a painting of monet

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#12

Two Girls On A Balcony, 1908

Two Girls On A Balcony, 1908

Etheldreda Laing Report

Ruth Meszaros
Community Member
4 years ago

What a wonderful snapshot of that moment.

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#13

Young Girl Amidst Marguerites, C. 1912

Young Girl Amidst Marguerites, C. 1912

Alfonse Van Besten Report

Zenozenobee
Community Member
4 years ago

I love this dress!

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#14

Air Balloons, Paris, 1914

Air Balloons, Paris, 1914

Albert Kahn Report

Simon Gerber
Community Member
4 years ago

My steampunk heart is melting

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#15

Charlie Chaplin, 1918

Charlie Chaplin, 1918

Charles C. Zoller Report

Marcus Stützel
Community Member
4 years ago

I love his amazing speech for humanity in the great dictator <3

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#16

Autochrome Of Mark Twain, 1908

Autochrome Of Mark Twain, 1908

Alvin Langdon Coburn Report

Sabbie Bradley
Community Member
4 years ago

I wonder if his eyebrow got in the way of his reading?

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#17

Christina In Red, 1913

Christina In Red, 1913

Mervyn O’Gorman Report

Primrose Roney
Community Member
4 years ago

Looks modern

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#18

Outdoor Market, Paris, 1914

Outdoor Market, Paris, 1914

Albert Kahn Report

Aunt Messy
Community Member
4 years ago

There are still street markets like this in Paris if you know where to look. They aren't all that hard to find, either. If you see vans parked on the street that have spectacular graffiti all over them, there's a market nearby. The graffiti on the vans gets competitive and some of it is spectacular.

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#19

Woman Smoking Opium, 1915

Woman Smoking Opium, 1915

Léon Busy Report

Danny Root
Community Member
4 years ago

Mind if I join you?

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#20

Two Girls In Oriental Costume, 1908

Two Girls In Oriental Costume, 1908

Etheldreda Janet Laing Report

AsHaysha Salam
Community Member
4 years ago

Can people really stop with the appropriation, it's clothing !!! Should we stop eating food from different cultures or watch different

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#21

Van Besten Painting In His Garden, 1912

Van Besten Painting In His Garden, 1912

Alfonse Van Besten Report

Amy Radie
Community Member
4 years ago

Nancy, I guess the object of this series went way over your head. Have a better day.

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#22

Bosnia-Herzegovina, Mostar, 1913

Bosnia-Herzegovina, Mostar, 1913

Albert Kahn Report

Merilyn Horton
Community Member
4 years ago

I think that bridge was destroyed in modern war

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#23

Eva And Heinz On The Shore Of Lake Lucerne, Switzerland, C. 1927

Eva And Heinz On The Shore Of Lake Lucerne, Switzerland, C. 1927

Friedrich Adolf Paneth Report

Nancy E
Community Member
4 years ago

This could be almost modern times.

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#24

Girl In A Garden With Hollyhocks, 1908

Girl In A Garden With Hollyhocks, 1908

Etheldreda Laing Report

Gretchen Pritchard
Community Member
4 years ago

Wow; can't grow hollyhocks like that where I live!

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#25

Sweden, Near Gagnef (Mother And Daughter In Traditional Clothes), 1910

Sweden, Near Gagnef (Mother And Daughter In Traditional Clothes), 1910

Albert Kahn Report

Kjorn
Community Member
4 years ago

so many color!

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#26

Else Reading By The Nile, 1920

Else Reading By The Nile, 1920

Friedrich Adolf Paneth Report

CultOfBambi
Community Member
4 years ago

The Paneth family definitely seem to have had some lovely holidays.

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#27

Woman And Girl By A Brook, 1910

Woman And Girl By A Brook, 1910

Charles Corbet Report

xpurinx
Community Member
4 years ago

Surely a painting?

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#28

Family Portrait At Roannay, Belgium, 1913

Family Portrait At Roannay, Belgium, 1913

Georges Gilon Report

Lara B.
Community Member
4 years ago

There's always that one family member that can't stand still for photos (girl in the right window) :D. But beautiful picture anyway :)

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#29

The Neptune Fountain, Cheltenham, 1910

The Neptune Fountain, Cheltenham, 1910

John Cimon Warburg Report

Anna Misiuk
Community Member
4 years ago

Love this- my home town!

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#30

An Autochrome Of Two Sisters, 1908

An Autochrome Of Two Sisters, 1908

Etheldreda Laing Report

Waxwork
Community Member
4 years ago

I think the one sitting up is Etheldreda from the earlier picture.

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#31

Apan (Young Samurai), 1912

Apan (Young Samurai), 1912

Albert Kahn Report

B.r. Hutchinson
Community Member
4 years ago

Oh the changes he would have seen...to go from a society like the outfit he has on represents, to WW2 where he might have been an officer in his 40s, to the resurgence of Japan in the 70s (if he lived).

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#32

Autochrome Of Else Paneth On A Camel, 1913

Autochrome Of Else Paneth On A Camel, 1913

Friedrich Paneth Report

Renee McDonald
Community Member
2 years ago

Beautiful photo

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#33

Japan, Kyoto, 1912

Japan, Kyoto, 1912

Albert Kahn Report

Nikki Scott
Community Member
4 years ago

The girl in the middle... for a split second I thought her obi belt was see through

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#34

Bosnia-Herzegovina, Sarajevo, 1912

Bosnia-Herzegovina, Sarajevo, 1912

Albert Kahn Report

John L
Community Member
4 years ago

I just want to reach out, grab one, and sink my teeth into the fresh bread while its still warm. :O

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#35

Mother Of Seven Making Fringes For Knitted Shawls, Galway, Ireland, 29 May 1913

Mother Of Seven Making Fringes For Knitted Shawls, Galway, Ireland, 29 May 1913

Albert Kahn Report

therealpixie
Community Member
4 years ago

And now they call it "recycling" if a celebrity wears a dress twice.

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#36

Louis Lumière's Daughter And Her Dolls, 1913

Louis Lumière's Daughter And Her Dolls, 1913

Mo Report

Merilyn Horton
Community Member
4 years ago

Lucky child

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#37

Lanchester 38hp Tourer, 1913

Lanchester 38hp Tourer, 1913

Unknown Report

Izolda Bronstein
Community Member
4 years ago

take a look at those door handles!

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#38

Porte Saint Denis, Paris, 1914

Porte Saint Denis, Paris, 1914

Albert Kahn Report

Shawn Trudeau
Community Member
4 years ago

If you go to Google Maps and find the site, most if not all of the buildings are the same even the older looking house through the arch.

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#39

Joan In Red Riding Hood Cape With Basket, 1907

Joan In Red Riding Hood Cape With Basket, 1907

John Cimon Warburg Report

Cherry Ann
Community Member
4 years ago

little red riding hood

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#40

Autochrome Of A Young Girl, 1910

Autochrome Of A Young Girl, 1910

Etheldreda Laing Report

Annabell
Community Member
4 years ago

This is beautiful!

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#41

Girl With A Parasol Sitting On A Bench, 1908

Girl With A Parasol Sitting On A Bench, 1908

Etheldreda Laing Report

Agnes Jekyll
Community Member
4 years ago

This looks like Etheldreda Janet Laing's daughter

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#42

Giant Oranges,paris, 1914

Giant Oranges,paris, 1914

Albert Kahn Report

M O'Connell
Community Member
4 years ago

Very interesting. I thought they only did weird inflatable stuff recently!

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#43

Egypt, Giza, 1913

Egypt, Giza, 1913

Albert Kahn Report

Jose Baeyens
Community Member
4 years ago

They were right : the old egyptians did remodel the head to a pharaoh's head and it was probably a lions head first. Compare the erosion of the body with that of the head.

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#44

Galway, Ireland 1 May 1913

Galway, Ireland 1 May 1913

Albert Kahn Report

Kjorn
Community Member
4 years ago

the roof!!!

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#45

An Autochrome Of Etheldreda Janet Laing Daughter In A Garden, Holding A Brightly Coloured Bunch Of Pink Flowers, 1908

An Autochrome Of Etheldreda Janet Laing Daughter In A Garden, Holding A Brightly Coloured Bunch Of Pink Flowers, 1908

Etheldreda Janet Laing Report

CultOfBambi
Community Member
4 years ago

Etheldreda... now there's a name that you don't hear anymore!

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#46

Mongolia, Near Ulaanbaatar (Buddhist Lama), 1913

Mongolia, Near Ulaanbaatar (Buddhist Lama), 1913

Albert Kahn Report

Merilyn Horton
Community Member
4 years ago

I love this

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#47

Traditional Irish Knitwear, An Spidéal, Galway, Ireland 1 May 1913 (Left), 14 Year Old Girl From The Claddagh Wearing Traditional Claddagh Dress. Galway, Ireland, 26th May 1913 (Right)

Traditional Irish Knitwear, An Spidéal, Galway, Ireland 1 May 1913 (Left), 14 Year Old Girl From The Claddagh Wearing Traditional Claddagh Dress. Galway, Ireland, 26th May 1913 (Right)

Albert Kahn Report

Tony Cabré
Community Member
4 years ago

Bare feet...

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#48

Lunch Of A French Soldier In Front Of A Damaged Library, 1st April 1917

Lunch Of A French Soldier In Front Of A Damaged Library, 1st April 1917

Paul Castelnau Report

Bengü Taşkesen
Community Member
4 years ago

It's not a library, it's a bookstore.

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#49

Metro, Paris, 1914

Metro, Paris, 1914

Albert Kahn Report

Grant O'Neil
Community Member
4 years ago

Seems like maybe this photo might be later than 1914. My understanding is that the Adrian helmet was not introduced until 1915 (at least two of the soldiers in this photo seem to be wearing the helmets) and the all horizon blue colour seen here was not introduced until late 1914 (at the outbreak of the war French poilus were wearing red trousers, naturally this made them far too easy to see and contributed to heavier casualties)

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#50

Margate Beach, Blue Girl , 1915

Margate Beach, Blue Girl , 1915

John Cimon Warburg Report

Ana T.
Community Member
4 years ago

i bet those people if the can travel to today present they will be surprise to see that beach full of people in bikinis and shorthorns lol " oh my god , they are almost naked"

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#51

The Family At The Lake, 1925

The Family At The Lake, 1925

Friedrich Adolf Paneth Report

Izolda Bronstein
Community Member
4 years ago

Hey, isn't this again our Eva and Heinz on vocation in the Alps? Not just some nameless "a family" ))

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#52

Palace Of Horticulture, Pan American Exposition, 1915

Palace Of Horticulture, Pan American Exposition, 1915

George Eastman Museum Report

Glenn Miller
Community Member
4 years ago

San Francisco?

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#53

Highland Castle, Scotland, 1920

Highland Castle, Scotland, 1920

Friedrich Adolf Paneth Report

Kjorn
Community Member
4 years ago

i love these kind of cows!

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#54

Mrs. Warburg, 1915

Mrs. Warburg, 1915

John Cimon Warburg Report

Cherie
Community Member
4 years ago

She looks impatient.

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#55

St. Mark's Cathedral, Venice, 1925

St. Mark's Cathedral, Venice, 1925

Friedrich Adolf Paneth Report

Ged Maybury
Community Member
4 years ago

Clearly no-one was expecting earthquakes in this town.

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#56

Market Stalls Outside An Egyptian Ruin, 1913

Market Stalls Outside An Egyptian Ruin, 1913

Friedrich Adolf Paneth Report

Nikki Scott
Community Member
4 years ago

This looks like Luxor/Karnak

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#57

Children By The Breakwater, 1908

Children By The Breakwater, 1908

John Cimon Warburg Report

Neil James
Community Member
4 years ago

Volks railway Brighton?

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#58

Galway, Ireland, 1913

Galway, Ireland, 1913

Albert Kahn Report

Shinta Widirahayu
Community Member