Try to find the spot where the photographer was standing.
I don't see either gentleman in the 1911 census (or the 1901 either!), so I suspect they may be visiting from Over the Water.
Here is a Myles Ponsonby of about the right vintage.
And that Myles had a brother, the Hon Bertie...
If it is my Myles, he died in action in France, 28th of September 1915. That Bertie lived to be 82.
OS 25" link to Mount Congreve.
[http://www.flickr.com/photos/gnmcauley] I'd say you have them correctly ID'ed alright Niall. Good find. Both were of a "peerage" family. Whatever one's thoughts on it, records for landed-types does make searches easier. And, however odd the lads look in their theatre garb (as Rosencrantz and Guildenstern? perhaps Merchants of Venice?) their military records suggest they were not "soft" types by a long stretch.
The Mount Congreve connection? A sister of these two loons, a Lady Helena Blanche Irene Ponsonby, was married to Major John Congreve. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Congreve. We have seen their mother, the "Countess of Bessborough" before.[http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/6101101372/in/photolist-ai8JSY-arAHB8]
Helena and Major Congreve
I wonder if Mr Poole fooled around with the image to make a classic elizabethan courtier carrying his own head, like
[http://www.flickr.com/photos/statelibraryofvictoria_collections/10466218786/]Dr. H. S. Lynn, magician
A challenge to photoshoppers out there ... !
[http://www.flickr.com/photos/gnmcauley] Thanks Niall. I'd be very happy that you have the right gentlemen, and that this was taken at Mount Congreve.
Myles was a Captain at this stage according to Poole Photographic Studio, but Major by the time he was killed in September 1915.
Major Congreve's mother was Alice Dillon of Clonbrock, auntie of this pair:
Myles' war grave / memorial at Loos, France - www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=15353563 .
He's not wearing a wedding ring in this photo, which might mean this is before his July 1911 marriage? [Ed - D'oh! it is dated October 1911]
[http://www.flickr.com/photos/nlireland] It looks very like a studio photo to me, as do 'Similar Items' in the NLI catalogue.
There's a Sir Cyril Ponsonby in the Carry on films, but the script-writers all had a fleet air arm background, not grenadier guards like our Cyril. Coincidence, or did they know some ancient associate of his, or did they just go through Debrett's looking for dead people who couldn't sue?
Lord Oranmore was Myles Ponsonby's brother-in-law and replied to a vote of condolence reported in the Irish Times of Friday, 8 October 1915, saying:
... Major Ponsonby met his death on behalf of the country and the Empire. They were right in saying that he had died a hero's death, for he died leading his regiment to within thirty yards of the German trenches in the assault on Hill 70, which was gallantly won by their soldiers. (Hear, hear.) His death to me, concluded his lordship, is a grievous loss; in fact, everyone who knew him loved him, as he was the model of what an Irish gentleman and a soldier ought to be. (Hear, hear) ...
The last of the Congreves to occupy the house died in 2011 at the age of 104. He would have been about 4 when the photo was taken.
Myles and Bertie's youngest sister, Gweneth, also playacting:
She is clearly at Bessborough House, though, not Mount Congreve.
[http://www.flickr.com/photos/gnmcauley] See what I mean about Mount Congreve and fantastic costumes.
Found more evidence of the Ponsonby penchant for theatricals in the Irish Times. In 1902, for Bertie's Coming of Age...
The festivities in connection with the present celebration comprised on Monday and Tuesday theatricals, "Uncle's Will", "A Pair of Lunatics", and the screen scene from "School for Scandal", in which the characters were represented by Miss Irene Ponsonby, ... the Hon. Vere Ponsonby, the Hon. Myles Ponsonby, the Hon. Bertie Ponsonby...
Theatrical Entertainments at Castle MacGarrett
On Thursday and friday, August 20th and 21st, three grand theatrical entertainments will be given at Castle MacGarrett, Claremorris ... The following amongst other will take part: Lady Irene Congreve, Lady Gweneth Ponsonby, Captain the Hon. Myles Ponsonby, Hon. Bertie Ponsonby...
[http://www.flickr.com/photos/nlireland] So it seems Lady Helena Blanche Irene Congreve née Ponsonby mentioned upthread, the lads' sister, went by Irene.
Here are Gweneth and Irene (in costume again!).
[http://www.flickr.com/photos/beachcomberaustralia] You're right to express caution (not like you at all!) about the location. Have removed it from the map as Mount Congreve, as we can't be sure...
Just how many of these outfits did they have?
[http://www.flickr.com/photos/gnmcauley] Great Job Niall
[http://www.flickr.com/photos/gnmcauley] I'd imagine they had a very accomplished seamstress on staff?
Do we know what the occasion was?
[http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]] No, so feel free to investigate! :)
Hey nonny no!
1911 or 1611?
Hello again. I used this here:
[http://www.flickr.com/photos/slimdandy] Thanks Bob, and hello again to you too! :)