Who Were They?

Lost and forgotten photos from the past


A much later date

This particular gem tintype was added to the Red Gem album after all the pages were filled – making me wonder about the duplicate images and why the owner didn’t remove one of those. The image was also obviously cut to the general shape of an oval, so perhaps it was going to be used in some other way and as an afterthought was added to the album. The tape has damaged the finish on the edges but fortunately the beautiful face is intact. The clothing looks to be from the 1880s and is lovely. Notice the asymmetrical details – buttons on one side, ribbon on the other. She appears to be leaning on something that looks like it could be the back of a chair, but it’s much too narrow. So, I am going to conclude it was some sort of prop used for these types of poses.

Well, that concludes our look at the Red Gem album and nary a name to be found. I have two more gem albums, a bunch of interesting CDVs and tin types, and of course many more cabinet cards to share with you. See you again soon!

6 thoughts on “A late addition

  1. anyjazz says:

    An excellent find, this piece and the whole set.


    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      Thanks! I have quite enjoyed this little album.


  2. Nikki says:

    Her hand is in an awkward position. Have you thought of the photo being post mortem? Also, the man with the painted eyes may also be post mortem.


    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      This photo is most definitely not a post mortem. I believe her hand is in an awkward position because it is on top of the chair back. The man with the painted eyes, in my opinion, is also not a post mortem, simply because of the difficulty of standing a fully grown man who has no muscle tone. Most post mortems were posed to look as though they were sleeping, or propped with family members, because of this difficulty.


      1. Nikki says:

        Photographers back in the Victorian age used props (metal stands) to keep the person upright. I know it is macabre but usually a post-mortem photo was all they had of the deceased. The internet is full of examples using the stands.


  3. Mrs Marvel says:

    There are a lot of misidentified photographs out there. The posing stands were used for living people so they would not blur the photo due to movement. I have numerous examples on this site. Most post mortem photographs are very obviously of the deceased, including showing livor mortis blotches on the skin. By the thousands of photographs for sale in antique shops, eBay and other types of venues, I am not convinced that post mortem photography after about the 1860s was the only photo to be had of someone. By comparison, legitimate post mortem photos are difficult to find.


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