Who Were They?

Lost and forgotten photos from the past


Scholarly scroll

This cabinet card has an interesting masking. I have seen similar masking and decorative imprinting in my collection. See below:

Rosalia Rudd Colter

Fancy Mount from Sistersville, WV

Irene Shoemaker Monroe

I might have one more that hasn’t been scanned yet. I suppose I ought to create a new category for this. In my research, I discovered this is called trompe l’oeil. The linguistic definition means “trick the eyes.” The artistic definition is of realistic imagery which creates an optical illusion of something being in three dimensions. It is a well known technique used as long ago as Greek and Roman murals, but was quite popular in the Baroque and Renaissance periods. There are many superior paintings that look as though the objects could be picked up and used, or simply items left laying on the table. Based on many examples I have seen at other sites, it is apparent the Victorian photographic goal was to make the subject appear to be in the scroll, clouds, flowers, etc. This technique is mostly seen in the 1890s.

The photographer for this unidentified subject was Geyser, at No. 9 Main Street, Bradford, PA.

5 thoughts on “Fancy masking

  1. This might be a memorial card.


    1. I was going to say the same. What a nice image.


    2. Mrs Marvel says:

      I was thinking that about the black flowers, too.


  2. Beautiful image. I wonder if it would be possible to identify her? There are a lot of resources for Bradford PA.


  3. anyjazz says:

    You are right. This is a category all to itself.


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