10/31/2008

Photo of the week - Lady with cape


Date: 1860's
Photographer: Chr. Neuhaus
Sitter: Unknown
Provenience: Copenhagen

As a commenter to this post was kind enough to point out, Chr. Neuhaus was really Christian Neuhaus and he had a photo-studio in Copenhagen from 1862 to 1894. That means that this photo cannot be older than 1862 - but that is quite old that too.

Who the sitter was is unknown - there is no helpful writing at the back of the photo, no date, nothing but the name of the studio and the price that I paid when I bought it. The lady is middle-aged, turning old - her face has started to get a bit shrunken and her hands are wrinkled. It is hard to tell if she looks mean or not. Her piercing gaze should, however, not be over-estimated. Someone has, with a steady hand, actually painted the pupils with black ink to make them more distinguished.

The lady in question must be someone from quite a wealthy background. This was long before going to the photograph was something for everybody, this was when it still was for the upper classes. And even if that was not the case her appearance clearly states her circumstances. Her weddingring is rather broad and she has ear-rings - at a time when jewellery was not at all that common, not even in photos. Her dress is mostly hidden by her cape, but the cape has a broad trimming made of lace. The collar is also trimmed with lace - and this at a time when lace was something really expensive. She wears a cap, suitable for a married woman, trimmed with both lace, frills and ribbons.

She might be unknown to us - but 140 or so years ago she was someone.

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