Portraits

Antique Cabinet Card of Portrait - Richardson Brothers, Brooklyn Photographers
  • I recently acquired a group of 2nd generation photographic images. These are photos taken of something like a portrait. The portrait is the first generation image and the photo is the second generation of that image. I’m not an expert on antique photographs but I love the idea of a portrait being so important to a descendent that the family decided to have a photograph taken to share with other family members. We know that sometimes silhouettists were asked to cut multiple figures and sometimes portraitists painted second portraits for family members.

    The current group are all cabinet cards. Carte de viste (1859-1889) was the first type of photograph made from a negative, which allowed multiple photos to be printed from one sitting. The photograph was printed on thin paper which was then glued to thicker paper or card. Cabinet cards (1866-1903) are basically the same as carte de viste, usually glued to larger card, sometimes with the photographer’s trade information below the glued photo and/or on the reverse. Around 1880, the cardboard mount for cabinet cards started having beveled edges, sometimes with a gold or silver color in the bevel.

    Here’s another somebody’s grandma whose family wanted to reproduce her folky portrait with a photograph. Her clothing is circa 1820 (puffed sleeves, gathered bodice ending at natural waist), so I would expect that her portrait was painted circa 1830 as older people tended to wear clothing styles after they were no longer in fashion (still true today). This cabinet card bears the studio stamp of “Richardson Brothers/105 and 107 Broadway/Below 4th/Brooklyn/E.D.” One source said that the brothers were in business in the 1880s & 1890s but I could not find anything more specific than that. The studio stamp is on the reverse of the card only. 4.25”x6.5”. Minor wear, light soil.

    $6791    $35