Parlourmaid and under-parlourmaid ready to serve dinner by Bill Brandt (c. 1936)

The photograph entitled “Parlourmaid and under-parlourmaid ready to serve dinner,” captured by artist Bill Brandt around 1936, depicts two female domestic workers in a formal dining setting. The women are dressed in traditional maid uniforms with white aprons and distinctive headdresses, standing with a straight posture behind a well-set dining table adorned with a floral centerpiece, elegant dining ware, glasses, and folded napkins.

In the black-and-white image, the parlourmaid and under-parlourmaid appear poised and attentive, ready to attend to the needs of diners. Their attire suggests a strict adherence to uniform and hierarchy, which was typical in households employing domestic staff during the period the photograph was taken. The setting looks grand, containing elements such as a candelabra, crystal stemware, and fine chinaware which hints at the wealth and status of the home in which they served. The room exhibits a classical sense of luxury, perhaps part of a larger estate, with paintings hanging in the background that contribute to the opulent ambiance. The photograph captures a precise moment of stillness and expectation, illustrating the roles and social structure within upper-class households of the time.

Other Photographs from Bill Brandt

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