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History, Conservation, and Repair The history of photographic prints, and how best to care for and repair them.

Photograph on milk glass? Colored and oil painted?

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  #1  
Old 03-07-2006, 05:17 PM
SimoneV SimoneV is offline
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Photograph on milk glass? Colored and oil painted?

I posted in another section and it was suggested to me to post here. That maybe someone with a little more expertise in this subject could help. I just copied and pasted the original post.

I have been searching for months on a photograph that I aquired by accident. Or at least I think its a photograph. Its an image/portrait on what I think is milk glass. Then it is background painted with Oil paints. Some of the image is touched up with oil as well.

I found many interesting things on old photography using clear glass plates but it no where near what I have, because of the white glass. I cant find anything on that. The portrait is signed Trinity Court Studio, which I now know was around in the late 1800's early 1900's. They took many of the images of important political people and places of the times. Based in Pittsburgh, PA.

My question is this. What is it? Is it a photograph or is a painting or both?
It is relitivly small, measuring only 3 1/4 x 4 1/4 inches.

I got this portrait unknowingly. I asked for a frame with an old photo of my grandparents. My mother gave it to me on the condition that I would restore and make copies of the photograph. I took it home and when I finally figured out how to open the frame I found this under the photo. Its an incredable piece, although I have no idea of who or what it is. Or even how to take care of it. So Im posting links to some pictures of it and maybe one of you can tell me what it is and about the time frame it was made. What this method of photography was called and if it was common on white glass.

Photo of portrait

Portrait in the frame

close up

Last edited by SimoneV; 03-07-2006 at 08:05 PM. Reason: misspellings
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Old 03-08-2006, 09:24 AM
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Sally Jacobs Sally Jacobs is offline
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Liquid Emulsion

Simone,

The links to images didn't work, so I haven't seen the object in question. But I know from my photography background that it's possible to spread liquid emulsion on lots of different surfaces (glass, porcelain, eggshells). Then they are developed just as if the emulsion were on paper.

If you'd like to send me the images, here's my work email:
sally@jacobsarchival.com

Best,
Sally
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Old 03-08-2006, 10:58 AM
SimoneV SimoneV is offline
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Absolutly! Thank you so much for your time and interest. I have already sent a few Pics to your email. I hope you get exited like I did when I saw it. Its a great and im beginning to think a rare piece. I'd like to keep it in that perfect condition.
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Old 03-08-2006, 12:13 PM
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Gina_D Gina_D is offline
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milk glass photos...

Simone, I read your post this morning and was interested to see the images of your "find". Any chance you could relink the images that didn't work this morning?
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Old 03-08-2006, 01:51 PM
SimoneV SimoneV is offline
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Sure, I am trying to put a proper thumbnail just havnt figured out how to do it yet. Ill get it up sometime today. If all else fails Ill just put it up on Yahoo. It will be a bit smaller than I would like but you'll still get to view the image and get a general feel for it.
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Old 03-08-2006, 02:22 PM
SimoneV SimoneV is offline
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Well I hope this works, If not than I will do something else.

http://image.inkfrog.com/pix/SimoneV/A_lady1.jpg

http://image.inkfrog.com/pix/SimoneV/A_lady3.jpg

http://image.inkfrog.com/pix/SimoneV/copies_081.jpg

Another thing, I discovered some other marks on the frame. I got out my glasses and magnifying glass and found the number 14 stamped on the inside of the bottom part of the frame and 14 in roman numerals "XIIII" scratched inside the top part of the frame. I suppose to match up the correct top with the bottom. It;s a pretty cool finding I think.

Last edited by SimoneV; 03-08-2006 at 02:29 PM. Reason: editing photo access
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Old 03-08-2006, 03:24 PM
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terivon terivon is offline
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"Milk Glass" Photo

Hello
You do indeed have a lovely find, and most likely an important treasure to your family history.
This is a type of photograph that was very popular in the Pennsylvania area as early as 1865 that I know of. I've done some work with a few of them, but they're not incredibly common finds.
The type of photograph is known as an "Opalotype" or commonly a milk glass photograph. There was a photographer in the Philadelphia area I believe, by the name of John Henry Brown, who did Opalotypes, along with daguerrotypes, etc. He was well known for his considerable skill, as his roots were actually in painting miniatures with Arthur Armstrong, a well known artist. I would guess that it is quite possible you have one of JH Brown's pieces.
John painted very limited numbers per year, and I don't think this particular one is one of his earlier pieces, if indeed he is the artist. You'd have to do a bit of research to see if this is his studio. I know that early on he painted using a daguerrotype base before adding Opalotype to his repretoire.

Be aware that John died in 1891, I think, I'd have to look it up, so if this is his work, it predates that period. I'd guess it's most likely a student of his work, because of the high quality, or someone who at least was familiar with his technique. You may wish to contact the Chester Co., PA historical society, and have it evaluated by them, as they have a number of his pieces. Or at least, used to.
Hope this helps.
Teri
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Old 03-08-2006, 04:55 PM
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Alcar Alcar is offline
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Teri, I have a milk glass color photo of my father. It has the look of a real color photograph and was made sometime between 1907-1910 in Monroe City, Missouri. It measures 9 x 6.5 and was made a lady photograher who had a studio there. I removed it from the frame, which had a 1" air space between it and the glass front, and made a digital copy. These are real family treasures!
Alan
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  #9  
Old 03-08-2006, 05:58 PM
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terivon terivon is offline
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Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alcar
Teri, I have a milk glass color photo of my father. It has the look of a real color photograph and was made sometime between 1907-1910 in Monroe City, Missouri. It measures 9 x 6.5 and was made a lady photograher who had a studio there. I removed it from the frame, which had a 1" air space between it and the glass front, and made a digital copy. These are real family treasures!
Alan
Ohh Alan! What a true treasure! That's quite a large Opalotype! They're quite collectable, as they're not as common. What a treasure I'd love to see it!
Teri
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  #10  
Old 03-08-2006, 06:10 PM
SimoneV SimoneV is offline
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Thank you so much for the info, I have been on the computer all day researching. As far as family heirloom...... I dont believe she is of our family. we are hispanic in decent. Wrong side of the tracks for this lady in the photo. I think it was something my grandmother picked up because she liked the frame. She lived briefly in Chicago. Much closer than here. It is definatly from The Pennsylvania though. Everything I have found so far, suggests that.

Maybe an idea about her dress and jewelry. Might give me an answer as to when. It looks much newer that the late 1800's (the clothing style)... At least I think it does. Almost 1920's. What I've read about John Henry Brown he was very detailed with the background aspect of his portraits and this one is textured with oil. Almost globbed on.

Also I read an article today concerning him in a history mag online and it detailed his work and business by year all the way up to his death. Nothing about Trinity Court Studio. I have found alot of photo referances on the studio, most in private or historical collections, Political and historicale places and people, But nill on the biz itself. None of the photograph collections list particular photographers just the studio as a whole.
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