I have put an explanation of why almost everyone, except my great grandfather, looked so sour
I know the history of this picture well! It shows the family in the garden of their farm in the summer of 1899. In those days a photographer would come around the countryside to take family portraits, and my great-grandfather, a farmer of some 30 or 40 acres, decided to have his young family recorded for posterity. However he decided that there was no point in everyone getting all their best clothes on only to be photographed, and the photographer would not work on Sunday, so he was to come on the day of the Church Outing.
Everyone got dressed in their best for this, and the whole village left work for an afternoon, had a picnic and played sports. The Howland family duly got dressed up, and waited for the photographer. And waited. And waited. He eventually arrived and set everything up, and the children could hear the carts which should have picked them up at the top of the farm road going past, full of laughing singing children, whilst they were still in the garden, missing out on the much awaited treat. This is why the four eldest children (and their mother it must be said!), look either very bad tempered or upset! I think their father may have taken them on to the picnic using their own farm cart and horse, but I am not sure!
Can you imagine, by the way, playing games on the beach in that hat that six year old Marion is wearing?