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19th Century Self-portraits

1890s Gent

A photographer's self-portrait?

1890s Lady

The Photographer's wife?











I recently picked up this wonderful pair of photographs at a local auction. I have absolutely no idea who these individuals are or where the photographs were taken but I was very impressed by their quality (click on the images to see them in detail).

They are similar to cabinet cards but are much larger, each measuring just under 8″ x 5″. They are mounted on heavy card with bevelled gold edges and rounded corners. The backs are white and have no writing or markings.

The gentlemen is holding a photographic plate with the word “Exposed” printed on it while the lady is holding a sprig of foliage. I’m guessing the gentlemen may be a photographer and the lady his wife? Perhaps the gentlemen took these photographs and chose to print them at this unusual size. It’s difficult to say where these photos were taken.  Most of the other images in this lot, the majority dating from the 1920’s and 30’s, were taken on Vancouver Island or in Winnipeg.

I’m thinking these could date from the mid-1890’s or possibly a few years earlier. Unfortunately there were no clues in the auction lot as to who these individuals might be but I’m content to enjoy the photos for what they are – beautiful examples of late 19th century photography.

If you have any information or comments on these photographs please leave a comment – I’d love to learn more about them.

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February 2012

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