Saturday, May 11, 2013

Their Likeness Taken

On my recent trip southwards, we were able to fit in some antique-ing. Most of the places we stopped in were very much on the beaten path, and shops frequented by tourists, which usually means that the prices were a little high. There were lots of beautiful things to ogle, not a lot that fit in the budget. This was probably for the best, as our rental car was really tiny and things could have gotten pretty cramped pretty quickly.

I did find three tintypes, and brought them home with me, and wanted to share them!

First up is this lovely lady, still in the original pasteboard holder. The back has a note written on it, identifying it as "grandmother". Her dress is very much in style with the very early 1850s (perhaps even as early as the late 1840s - that era is a little bit past my knowledge base so I am not as certain). It's a little blurry and dark, but she has a lovely collar and a pretty brooch.

Proof that even then, children had a hard time holding still for the camera! This kiddo moved while the picture was being exposed and is thus captured for posterity. In the 19th century, little boys wore dresses identical to little girls until they were potty trained. In period images, you can often tell boys and girls apart by the part in their hair - boys' hair is usually parted on the side, girls' hair is usually parted in the center. I am taking a wild stab in the dark by saying this is a boy, as I think I can see a side part and definitely do not see a center part. So I've taken to thinking of this child as a boy - what do you think?

A few details: his little bootees are lovely and he is wearing some really cute striped stockings! It is really hard to put a date on this one (children's clothes are also not a forte of mine), and he may be a little past the 1860s, but I just adore this one so I took it home with me.

This image is my favorite of the whole group. There is no telling the relationship between these two girls - sisters? Cousins? School friends? Either way, they are obviously dear to each other. They are holding hands (and holding them in a really weird way - anyone have any idea why??) and their fashionable jackets are identical. They also appear to be wearing the jackets over dresses, instead of wearing them as part of a three-piece ensemble, which is not unusual but seems to be less common. Also interestingly, they are wearing what appear to be lace mitts on their hands, but have taken the mitts off of their clasped hands. Again, anyone have any insight?

I plan to get some bigger versions of some of the details in this image - they are both wearing some really cool jewelry, and the girl on the left has what appears to be a decorated hairnet. Probably the best thing about this image is the depth and clarity of it - looking at the actual tintype, it is an eerie sensation of looking back into the past, seeing them exactly as they were when they sat down to "have their image struck".


Kelly Hinson said...

Betsy, don't you think maybe they're sharing one pair of mitts ? Perhaps their mother's? Just a thought.... :)

Betsy said...

That's a thought! I hadn't considered that. The mitt on the girl on the right has a distinctive pattern to it - I may be able to blow up the image and lighten it to see what the one on the left looks like.

Anonymous said...

Betsy, I wonder if the young lady in the decorated net has some medical difficulty? Speculation, but she is not looking at the camera which could mean a vision problem or blindness; her hand may be paralyzed or contracted? Fever injury or traumatic brain injury?

I frequently remind people that the Little House books are NOT a primary source -- but there is a Mary & Laura read to this image for me.

Ms. Jean
Route 66
via The Sewing Academy

Betsy said...

Jean, that's an interesting thought, and one I hadn't considered. We will likely never know the relationship between these two, but it is interesting to guess!