Dating old photographs family history

A wide array of materials of varying textures and prices was available to suit different pockets and needs.

It was, therefore, the quality of fabric and extravagance of trimmings that distinguished the dress of the affluent from that of the poorer classes – not in general its basic cut or shape.

There are others such as the early calotype and the revolutionary 1904 colour images called Autochromes but these are rather unusual.

Whatever you have in your family collection, the key thing is to look after those precious images in your care – for now and for future generations.

Also around the mid 1850s another cheap process was introduced.

The tintype (also known as the ferrotype in the USA) was produced on a thin metal plate and was usually of a rather muddy appearance.

Having learned in the previous blog how photograph compositions and studio settings changed over the years, we now look closely at what our forebears are wearing in old photographs.

In any kind of portrait it is often the subject's clothing that engages us most: fashion history is a fascinating topic and recognising the modes of different eras is an invaluable tool when trying to date unlabelled photographs.

This was a much cheaper process and allowed copies to be taken from a negative.

Suddenly photography was available to the masses as well as the gentry and family albums became a must for most Victorian families.

From 1866, the carte de visite was joined by the larger format cabinet card photo which was pasted onto a standard mount measuring approximately 6.5 “x 4.25″ (155mm x 110mm).

These were usually big enough to be framed for wall display.

Opalotypes can be wonderfully beautiful works of art.

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