Who Were They?

Lost and forgotten photos from the past


This is a beautiful image of a lovely little girl from the late 1860 time frame. I am targeting this date because one of the remaining corners of this card is clearly square. The rounded corner didn’t really become popularized until the 1870s. I say late 1860s because the image takes up the full card, which was more common post 1865. The card is badly damaged, I suspect by silverfish or other paper eating insects. The front and back of the card both show strange damage which looks a bit like how termites work their way through wood.

Our young lady is unfortunately quite washed out by the photographic process. We can’t know what color her dress was, and we can’t assume it was even white! I learned long ago that certain colors photographed as black, white and gray, even though they could have been yellow, blue and red! Thankfully the photographer tinted the sash and ribbon ties on the dress in a lovely light blue, added pink to her cheeks, and even colored the chair upholstery green and the wooden frame brown. She has lovely lace on the hem of her drawers and notice her shoes! They are quite high fashion.

The photo was made by R. Taylor at 16 Gt Ryrie Street, Geelong, Australia. I couldn’t find anything to explain what Gt would mean, but I am wondering if it means “great” as in “Great Ryrie Street.” I didn’t find any references to that street, however. There is a “Little Ryrie Street” so maybe Great Ryrie Street simply evolved into Ryrie Street. Ryrie Street is just a short walk from the water of Port Philip Bay. Geelong itself is near Clifton Springs and not too distant from Melbourne. Coincidentally, there is now an antique shop located at 16 Ryrie Street. As you can see in this picture, it’s in a very old building, and maybe it even housed the photography studio at one time. These kinds of connections are just fascinating to me.

Moorabool Antique Galleries, Geelong, Australia

6 thoughts on “Pretty girl with hand tinting

  1. anyjazz says:

    I think you are exactly right about Great Ryrie Street. Those details are exciting. And this is a good tint job. Some are really bad.


  2. Kathy Cunningham says:

    I have a friend from Australia she thinks it’s Great also


    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      Thank you, that is helpful!


  3. girlsportraiture says:

    Reblogged this on Girls' Portraiture and commented:
    A charming picture from the days when bloomers were meant to be seen. A pity about the fading – when it was new it must have been really pretty, particularly the blue….


  4. George says:

    What kind of ink was used to hand color victorian photos?


    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      Hi George – many times the photographers were accomplished artists and used oils and or pastels to paint onto the images. Unfortunately I don’t know the exact answer to your question but that is a good topic to explore!


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