Saturday, February 16, 2013

Sorting Saturday: Ambrotype #2


In continuation of my photograph sorting project: I mentioned this photograph which I have labeled D-1 from my collection in this post.  As I said, the case in which this image is housed is identical to D-2. The one detail I did not mention was size: the case is approximately 3 inches x 3 inches in size. (Rinhart’s description of this same case gives a measurement of 3 5/8” x 3 1/8”.) The mat for this image is different from D-2. This metal matting is called a “nonpareil” mat with paisley shapes in the corners. The outside metal matting has stars in each corner and four in each mid-section.

Ambrotype ca. 1865


To help you understand all the parts of cased images, it might be helpful to view this Youtube video by the Minnesota Historical Society in which actual cased images (daguerreotypes and tintypes in this example) are pulled apart and viewed in detail. This video, by photo curator Diane Adams-Graf, is just over three minutes in length.  See also my blog post on photo identification.

This particular image is an ambrotype, meaning the image is produced on glass. Ambrotypes are usually dated between 1854-1865. As one of the subjects in this image appears to be wearing a Confederate uniform, that helps date it to the 1865 time period. The subjects are two young men with no beards. They share similar facial characteristics and may have been brothers close in age. Twins run in the Hardy family but other people have said they do not feel these are identical twins. The young man on the left has on what looks like a Confederate soldier’s jacket, with rows of buttons (gilded by the photographer.) Two buttons are undone near the bottom, bringing to mind a Napoleonic pose.  The collar goes up the neck and has two more buttons on either side. The cuff has a chevron or v-shaped emblem (maybe of gold braid). There is possibly of an undershirt underneath that appears just past this sleeve. This may be what shows around the neckline as well. This subject has a narrow chin, oval-shaped face with hair halfway down his ears and smoothed back on top. I would almost say that his hands are folded in his lap but the image is not clear. You can see the fingers of his right hand but not so much of the left hand. Is he holding something?

The young man on the right sports a somewhat different hairdo with the hair on top made to stick straight up and twisted, although the length is roughly the same as the other one. He also has a narrow chin (which may recede) and his eyes appear somewhat drooped. He wears a dark suit jacket that is hardly distinguishable from the waistcoat which is buttoned midline with four buttons. He wears a white shirt underneath with a narrow pointed collar. He also wears a knotted bowtie. His hands are not visible.

Ambrotype of two brothers, ca. 1865
The original image was given to me by my father's cousin Norman Vaughan in about 1995. It was among items his mother, Ruby Hardy Vaughan, owned. She had many family items from her grandmother Martha Sizemore Hardy of Christian County, Kentucky. 

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