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The image of Christina by Mervyn O'Gorman will be familiar having been used to promote the exhibition Drawn by Light. The Royal Photographic Society Collection which is still showing at the National Media Museum, Bradford. The Mailonline is trying to find out who Christina was in a feature here. It has interviewed Drawn by Light curator 'and Leeds University lecturer' (better known to BPH readers a National Media Museum curator) Colin Harding who did some biographical research without finding an answer. He has suggested that she was not O'Gorman's daughter but possibly a niece. 

O'Gorman was born in Brighton is 1871 and studied science at University College, Dubin. He later worked in electrical engineering and had a penchant for cars, eventually being crowned vice president of the Royal Automobile Club. 

The talented entrepreneur married Florence Rasch in 1897, and during the first World War, he became a lieutenant-colonel in the RFC.

When he died in 1958 at the age of 87, Melvyn's obituary described him as 'a man of agile mind and Hibernian eloquence'.

The article is well worth a read and if you know the answer to who Christina was and what happened to her please contact BPH. It would be nice to scoop the Mail!

Image: The Royal Photographic Society Collection/National Media Museum. 

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Comment by Timothy Greyhavens on May 5, 2015 at 2:27

Well done, Marcel Safier! very fine research.

Comment by Marcel Safier on May 4, 2015 at 16:16

I like a research challenge so have had a look to see if I could help elucidate who Christine is. Mervyn Joseph Pius O'Gorman (birth indexed as Gorman) was born on 19 Dec 1871 in Brighton, Sussex. I've noticed some sites mentioning he was born in Ireland. I cannot locate him in the 1881 or 1891 censuses. He was educated at Downside (Somerset) and at University College in Dublin where he studied Classics and Science (from his obituary). As found by a genealogist on the (, a Christina O'Gorman, aged 3 in 1901 and aged 13 in 1911 appears in the Dungarvon, Co. Waterford censuses, daughter of James (b. c.1863-1866, Co. Waterford), a baker, and Mary O'Gorman. This Christine's birth is registered in Dungarvan in the Oct-Dec quarter of 1897. Mervyn was the son of Edmond./Edmund John Whyte O'Gorman.

A post ( gives this information:

Alexander Crawford died of Typhus fever at Miltown House, 1814. Mervyn Archdall Nott Crawford, (Trinity College, Cambridge) 4th son of Colonel Alexander, born 1807, m. 25 April 1848, Emily Sophia Busk and had one son and three daughters:
1. Margaret Barclay Crawford, born 1849, m. 1871, Edmond O'Gorman of Monamore, co Clare and had three sons:
    i. Mervyn Archdall Joseph Pius O'Gorman, b. 19 Dec 1871
    ii. Cecil Carleton Crawford O'Gorman, b. 6 April 1873
    iii. Bernardine Beauchamp Colclough O'Gorman, b. 1 Nov 1874
2. Cecil Mary Crawford, b. 1852, Dominican Nun
3. Raymond Crawford, b. 12 Feb 1858, Paris, m. Evelyn Violet Kempe.
4. Rose Marie Crawford, b. 6 Jan 1861, Paris, m. Edward Pusey.

It would be difficult to reconcile James O'Gorman of Dungarvan being say a brother to Mervyn, given the above and also their disparate places of birth and educational/occupational backgrounds. Cecil Crawford was a noted artist and mining engineer who emigrated to Mexico in 1895 and married a Mexican woman, having sons Edmundo, a writer, historian and philosopher and Juan, an architect and painter. The Wikipedia entry stating Cecil's father was Charles O'Gorman, the first British Consul to Mexico is wrong. His grandfather was Edmond Anthony O'Gorman (b. 1820, Clare, Ireland) and great grandfather was Michael Arthur O'Gorman. It was Michael's brother Charles Thaddeus O'Gorman (therefore a great great uncle) who was appointed British Consul General to Mexico in 1823 and Consul at Bahia in 1836. Cecil gives Mervyn's address of 21 Embankment Gardens, Chelsea as his intended address on a shipping record from 1926.

Mervyn O'Gorman married into a very wealthy family. His father in law Arthur Augustus Rasch, an underwriter and insurance broker had died in 1879 leaving an estate of under £100,000 with his second wife Emma (nee Corbett) as executor. Emma died in 1895 leaving an estate of £28276 with her daughter Florence Catherine Rash as executor. Florence was one of five children born to Arthur Rasch and his first wife Mary Letitia Warner. Her brothers Frederick Charles Louis Rash died in 1887 and Edward William Rasch died in 1888 and another brother Henry Augustus Rasch died in 1896. Her sister Mary Louis Rasch married William H. Byas, insurance broker in 1867. The ages and death dates of Florence Rasch's siblings make those that did have children too old to have been Christina's parent.

Mervyn O'Gorman was very wealthy when he died in 16 March 1958, his estate being sworn at £163224 14s.

If you can follow all that, the upshot is I can't yet find Christina as a niece to Mervyn O'Gorman, unless she was the daughter of Bernadine O'Gorman of whom I (and others on line) have not yet found information.

Comment by Michael Pritchard on May 4, 2015 at 15:55

Very impressive! I suppose there is no reason that 'Christina' has to be the real name of the girl in the picture...Plenty of artists and photographers give alternative names to their subjects...

Comment by Stewart Wall on May 4, 2015 at 9:11

I have been photographing my own daughter, who has similar long golden hair.

The story of Mervyn and Christina fascinates me also

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