Love in silhouette

This carte-de-visite came to me from England (Northamptonshire), but it has nothing written on it to identify the sitter or photographer.  The photo (print) was cut into an oval shape and glued onto a paper mount with an oval frame design already printed on it.  Such cartes were generally made after someone had died, as... Continue Reading →

Poised and confident in Porto, Portugal

I found this carte-de-visite for sale in Massachusetts, which is the state with the second-highest number of Portuguese Americans (after California).  Who was this elegant young woman, posing confidently at an instrument a century and a half ago?  And what kind of instrument was it, exactly?  It looks too narrow to be a piano, yet... Continue Reading →

Ann Birkin, chevener to Queen Victoria

The woman in this carte-de-visite portrait isn't identified anywhere on the photo.  When I bought it last year, I never expected to learn her identity.  Three weeks ago, while browsing the website of Britain's Royal Collection Trust, I noticed a woman who looked very familiar.  The first thing that drew my attention was her shawl,... Continue Reading →

Henry Lenthall, early British photographer

The man above is Henry Lenthall (1819-1897), a photographer who operated a studio at 222 Regent Street, London, where the photo was printed.  The studio had been established in 1856 by pioneering daguerreotypist William Edward Kilburn (1818-1891), when Kilburn moved there from his original (smaller) studio at 234 Regent Street.  In 1862 Kilburn retired from... Continue Reading →

Musician with Tanjore tambura

This 19th-century photograph was printed on very thin paper and glued to a stiffer paper mount.  At some point the mount was trimmed to the dimensions of a postcard, possibly so that it would fit into an album.  The back is blank.  I bought it from a dealer in Suffolk, England, who couldn't tell me... Continue Reading →

Genial gent in Glasgow

I wish I could tell you who this gentleman was, but I haven't the faintest idea.  He looks like an intellectual, rather than a businessman or public figure, because of his plain attire and slightly disheveled hair.  For some reason I want him to be involved with writing or publishing, maybe a newspaper editor or... Continue Reading →

The new dress

The day of the party has arrived.  She and her friends have been working on their dresses for weeks. "Let's take pictures!" "I don't know, I have a lot of things left to do.  Maybe later." "It'll only take a few minutes to set up the camera.  We might be too busy later." "You're right. ... Continue Reading →

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