Boys in Dresses and Other Fashions of the Victorian Age

Noon Time Collection Talk with Ingrid Mida


William Notman, William (Bill) Davenport Benson, standing, ca. 1902, gelatin silver print. Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of Howard and Carole Tanenbaum

Boys in Dresses and Other Fashions of the Victorian Age

Noon Time Collection Talk with Ingrid Mida
Thursday, November 21, 12–1 pm
Ryerson Image Centre

Join Dr. Ingrid Mida, author of The Dress Detective and Research Fellow in the Modern Literature and Culture Research Centre (MLC) at Ryerson University, for a talk about Victorian fashions as seen in selected images from the RIC collection. Not long after photography’s invention, the medium allowed families and individuals to stop time, preserving the reflected light of their image for generations to come, and these photographs are embedded with clues related to codes of dress and behaviour that mark them as mirrors of their age. This talk will examine the nuances of late-nineteenth-century fashions and give special emphasis to photographs of boys wearing dresses, a little-known facet of Victorian dress codes for children.

Noon Time Collection Talks take place in the RIC’s Peter Higdon Research Centre, located at 122 Bond Street, room RIC-241, on the second floor just above the gallery.

Free and open to the public.


William Notman, Instantaneous, Quick as a Flash [Notman trade card], ca. 1866, albumen print mounted on card. Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of Howard and Carole Tanenbaum


The Way She Looks: A History of Female Gazes in African Portraiture
Drawn from the extraordinary holdings of The Walther Collection, The Way She Looks revisits the history of African photographic portraiture through the perspectives of women, both as sitters and photographers. Spanning the beginnings of colonial photography on the continent to the present day, the exhibition features contemporary works by female artists, including Yto Barrada, Jodi Bieber, Lebohang Kganye, Zanele Muholi, Grace Ndiritu, and Nontsikelelo “Lolo” Veleko alongside 1950s studio portraits by such important historical figures as Malick Sidibé and Seydou Keïta, and nineteenth-century prints, cartes de visite, postcards, and albums.

Syrus Marcus Ware: Ancestors, Can You Read Us? (Dispatches From The Future)
Toronto-based artist Syrus Marcus Ware imagines a world where racialized people have survived the “Black death spectacle” writ large on the nightly news; survived the catastrophic impact of the Anthropocene; and survived the crushing effects of white supremacy. Commissioned by the Toronto Biennial of Art and the RIC, the artist draws on the shared language of speculative fiction and political activism to transform the Salah J. Bachir New Media Wall into a portal through which the next generation of racialized activists communicate with us, their ancestors, and offer us insights into the future.

Grayson James: After Alexandria
In After Alexandria, Grayson James presents the printed book as a starting point for an aesthetics of collaboration. Using a variety of books and images as source material for exchange, the installation is an ongoing interactive space about reading, annotating, and responding to others. The artist will be on site on select Saturdays to lead readings and open discussion with visitors on a range of themes. More details can be found at


Wednesday, November 27, 7 pm
Tanenbaum Lecture with Syrus Marcus Ware
Ryerson University School of Image Arts, 122 Bond Street, Toronto, IMA-307 (third floor)
Please arrive early as seating is limited.

Wednesday, December 4, 6 pm
Special exhibition tour of The Way She Looks: A History of Female Gazes in African Portraiture with Gaëlle Morel and Kenneth Montague

All events take place at the Ryerson Image Centre (33 Gould Street) unless otherwise noted.

Ryerson Image Centre
33 Gould Street
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Free exhibition tours daily at 2:30 pm
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Media Contact
Kristen Dobbin, Ryerson Image Centre, / T+416 979 5000 x7032