Twins of Watertown, New York

They must be two sets of twins.  The back of this CDV doesn’t tell us anything about them, but it does identify the photographer, C. W. Gill.

Twins of Watertown 2d

 

I didn’t find anything about Gill online.  The Hubbard Block was built on Public Square by Volney Stow Hubbard in 1868, which is about when this photo was taken, I’d guess.  Other photographers had studios in the Hubbard Block at various times, but Gill’s must have been one of the first.

The studio is completely bare, without a backdrop or rug, which may be an indication that Gill hadn’t been in the building very long.  I find the checkerboard floor very appealing, and the plain wall allows our gaze to remain on the sitters.  The women in back are holding hands, and each has placed her other hand on the shoulder of the sitter in front of her, suggesting a degree of familiarity.

Twins of Watertown 3

 

Did these four young people decide to have their picture taken together, or did someone else suggest it?  A hint of a smile tells us that at least one of the four was enjoying herself.

 

Twins of Watertown 4b

 

 

 

18 thoughts on “Twins of Watertown, New York

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  1. I like that you see them as art more than historical documents, Brad. Without lots of details of who the people are, they sit nicely in the art context.

    I do see how they could be two sets of twins. The woman, all having the same neck accessories, if not dresses, must all be siblings and the young man would therefore be their brother, I think. I’m going to disagree with Liz (sorry Liz!) and say that even if unrelated by blood to the women, he looks too young to be married to the lady next to him. I would guess him to be only fifteen or sixteen. I know girls sometimes married very young in the Victorian era, but did boys?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I think they are all siblings.They all have the same eyebrows then there’s the neck ties (bows) on the similar dresses. The three women (girls? Difficult to tell their ages) are also wearing the same hair clasps and have the same hairstyles. The two at the back probably are twins. To me, all but the girl at the back right look happy – they are all smiling (the front girl smiling with her eyes.) I think the back right girl has just been distracted by something as the photo was taken.

    As you say, very plain studio setting – no backdrop. Or rather, no painting on the backdrop, there certainly is a backdrop of sorts – you can tell from the uneven gap at the bottom of it – more gap to the right. And a strangely-plain chair.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I also think they are all siblings – two sets of twins, or one set of twins (the women who are standing) plus sister and brother. The women standing up appear to have wedding rings on? I like how they have their little fingers entwined! I can’t tell if the third woman is also wearing a ring. How intriguing…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I looked at the photo in very high resolution, and concluded that the seated girl isn’t wearing a ring. There seems to be a slight flaw in the print in that spot, but it doesn’t look like a ring up close. The two standing women are wearing dark bands, which is interesting. Thanks for pointing that out!

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