Pearly Queen, c 1943.
© NMeM / Kodak Collection / Science & Society
A Kodahrome colour photograph of a young woman dressed as a Pearly Queen, taken by JCA Redhead (1886-1954) during World War Two. Pearly Kings and Queens are a London tradition dating back to the 1870s. It grew out of the 'flashy' costumes worn by costermongers (street-sellers). Kings and Queens dress in costumes decorated with pearl buttons. Kodachrome, regarded as the first 'modern' colour process, was announced by Kodak in 1935. Kodachrome film was imported from the USA and was in very short supply during World War Two. As Head of Kodak Ltd's Photo Finishing Laboratory in Harrow, England, Redhead had access to supplies of this scarce colour film.