Aldous Proper Gallery

Parallel Earth: 571454
Exhibition: The World In A Haze
Parallel Historians: Sean Proper and Ben Tumbling.

Click on the photo collage below to view.

Going to Work (Self-Portrait Series 04), Mechanisms of Dry Dock Roof (Self-Portrait Series 12)

Aldous Proper (b. 1864, Glasgow, Scotland), 1892

Photographic prints

Master Engineer Aldous Proper discovered his love for the sartorial arts shortly after being assigned to the Albion Overseas Base in the United States of America in 1892. The base opened five years prior to his arrival, a joint military venture between London and Washington. As is the case with imperial bases around the globe, the city of Portland, Maine, soon found that catering to the tastes of the resident British personnel and their families was a lucrative endeavor. Merchants through out the city brought the world to the base. Wine, literature, and apparel from far off countries, or at least close enough knock offs, were sold in abundance.

Proper was, according to twenty four articles over four years in the Imperial Word newspaper, an unmarried young professional. A conscientious and hard worker, he earned the title of Master Engineer at twenty seven years old and was soon assigned to the overseas post, presumably to be groomed for higher office elsewhere. He started submitting photographic essays about life on the base almost immediately.

Born with a gift for detailed handy work, he took inspiration from the market offerings and made his own wardrobe and accessories. His self-portraiture chronicled an amazing array of pieces: brooches made from discarded mechanical parts, a four-faced, wristwatch-compass, kilts featuring French damask or oiled leather instead of tartan, smoked glass eyewear, light silk cravats, and an imposing brass and steel octopus sporran (7th photograph above) to name just a few.

His adventurous fashion choices soon made him a kind of celebrity, influencing designers all over the empire.

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