Flat Head

 

Sometimes a number of factors combine to cause us to double take a pretty picture. This photo in particular looks rather mundane upon first glance. The subject is centered nicely, her hair is arranged, her expression is appropriately moderate. One may not look beyond these traits and be completely satisfied with the image.

Not me, though.

I noticed that the particular hair arrangement this lady chose, along with her chin being tilted slightly downward, makes her head look flat on top. Unfortunate. Probably in person she looked lovely and within the norms of her fashion choices. Combine with this that one of her eyes seems to be slightly droopy, or less opened than the other, and she looks less put together to the discerning eye bent upon picking apart the portrait. She looks, in fact, a bit sleepy.

All that withstanding, this is a nice image, and is the first I can recall with a green border. Typical borders in the 1860s were black, some red. According to various sites, the thin line puts this in the 1862 range, and the size of the image puts it in the 1860-1864 range. The dropped shoulders of the dress that can be seen matches this general dating.

The photographer was J. Beard at 8 Old Bond Street, Bath.

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Stern face, pretty lace

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This fine Edwardian era photograph features a middle aged woman with a stern face. Her hair is twisted up on top of her head in a style popular in the early 20th century. Her high-necked dress has an embellishment of lace across the bodice and on the collar. Finally, there are six buttons front and center, which are probably non-functioning, meaning her bodice fastens in a different way. It is likely the dress has hooks & eyes, or less attractive workhorse buttons hidden by a placket.

The image is oval shaped in the center of the gray card. The card itself is about 3″ x 2″. I have two other photos that came with this one, and all were found in Tennessee.

UPDATE I forgot that this had been identified on the back as Mrs. S. M. McSparrow McSparrin.

Four men and a tintype

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This fine image is a tintype I found in the great Tennessee vacation haul at the World’s Longest Yard Sale. There was another woman and I who seemed to be on the same route, each of us rushing to find the photos at each individual stall. I felt lucky to find this great piece, because look at all the character here!

We have a stringy beard and hard, hard gaze on our seated fellow; a bowler hat hiding at the side of the young gent to the left; a droopy mustache on the standing fellow to the right; and oh, so much angst in the face of the kneeling dude.

These characters make me wonder and imagine what they were up to…was it no good? Did they go on to rob a bank or help the poor? They sure look like a group of vintage bad boys to me! It is impossible to know, but these great old pictures make us consider just who they were, don’t they?

Football

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Now that the Cubs have won the World Series, it’s time for football! This is from an era when padding and helmets were not anything like what our players wear today, and CTE was not even on the radar as a possible complication for boys in their futures. This young fellow looks ready to hit the gridiron and score! Do you think he was the QB or a lineman? Based on the photo style, I’m suggesting the 1920s or 1930s. I can’t make out the photographer’s signature in the lower right corner.

Dutch People?

SD CDVs 7

This is another wonderful image from the San Diego photo buying extravaganza a few months back, and I’m sure you can guess why I picked it up. It’s funny, we were in a warehouse sized antique mall, stalls all over the place, but the photographs were the most busy section. I got there first and monopolized the CDVs as I made my first choices. The cuts were hard because there were so many good images, but in the end, I narrowed it down to 14 and kept it under my budget of $way to many dollars.

The photo could be a photo of a painting because it doesn’t have a true lifelike characteristic to it. The people are too perfect, the shading too soft in places, and there is no true depth behind them.

The photographer was Carl Phillipp Wollrabe of The Hague, Netherlands. I know nothing about am not up on my Dutch but I believe the backmark indicates that Wollrabe photographed Prince Frederick of the Netherlands, and “the late king and queen of Sweden and Norway.” Here’s the text. If you read Dutch and google has got this wrong please let me know.

Z. K. H. Prins Frederik der Nederlanden

En wijlen z. m. den koning en koningin

van Zweden en Noorwegen

Wollrabe was in business from 1859 to 1887. His principle location was at Boekhorststraat 91 until 1887. His widow attempted to keep the business going in 1888, but I didn’t find reference to anything after this time. He primarily shot ambrotypes in the CDV format.

Ethnic Costume of Norway

SD CDVs

This wonderful cdv shows an ethnic costume from Norway. It has been carefully hand painted so as to bring out the navy colored breeches, green vest and red coat of the man, and the green, yellow and red decoration on the woman’s dress. The costumes are fascinating and were probably much more beautiful in person!

The photographer probably made a series of images of ethnic costumes, but this is the only painted image I came across during a recent trip to San Diego, CA. It does make me wonder how this particular cdv found its way from Sweden, where it was made, to almost the border between America and Mexico.I did a little bit of research on the costumes themselves and there is a rich and diverse ethnic costume tradition in Norway. These clothes could be wedding attire, as one website I found referenced women wearing a type of crown or headdress with their wedding clothes. The man’s costume looks similar to one I found from Sunnmøre in the southwestern part of the country. A person more familiar with the many regions and costumes of Norway can better pinpoint where these clothes were from.

The photographers were W. A. Eurenius & P. L. Quist of Stockholm. They were decorated photographers, with silver medals awarded them in 1865, 1866 and 1867. I have one other image from these photographers, also an ethnic costume. Come back soon and take a look.

Further Reading

Bunad – Norwegian Traditional Costumes – My Little Norway

A Cyclopedia of Costume or Dictionary of Dress by James Robinson Planche, Publisher William Clowes and Son, 1879, pp 344-348

In remembrance

Isa W

Striped bow tie

 

Isa back W

A memorial card?

From Gloucester, England we have a portrait of an older gentleman photographed by S. S. Soley. Someone inscribed on the back “In Remembrance of 17th Oct 70.” The date could possibly be 12th or something else, there seems to be an extra scratch of ink and it looks like a 4 upside down or an H. Regardless, this image can be fairly well dated to 1870, which was possibly the date of death of the man pictured on the front.

 

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