This large-format photograph came to me from the United Kingdom. Unfortunately, it has nothing written on it and I haven't identified anyone in it. Hanging high on the wall is a shield with a crown on it. Would the crown indicate a royal household? I've brightened it below to make it a little easier to... Continue Reading →
Siblings in harmony
I'm guessing they're siblings, but I can't say for sure. This early cabinet card photo came from a collection of musical ephemera in Boston, Massachusetts. (Two other posts featuring photos from the same collection are Music and baseball in the forest and "Waldfreunde" Mandolin Orchestra (1922).) Do their outfits suggest any particular place of origin? Despite... 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 →
The piano tuner (Wales)
The young man appearing on this carte-de-visite could be certain everyone would remember his profession. You might even say he was in tune with the latest trends in advertising and self-promotion. The one thing he neglected to do was write his name on the back, which is a pity. The CDV was made by James... Continue Reading →
The Kansas Spirit
This snapshot came with no information, but the sheet music on the left side of the piano is "The Kansas Spirit" by George L. Wright. Behind the title on the cover are the letters KU, for the University of Kansas.
Informal early photos of musicians are surprisingly rare. On the other hand, musical instruments have often appeared in formal portraits. The postcard below was made some years after the photo above.