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812.01   Props, accessories and novelties: Curtains
812.02   A contemporary thought on the properties, accessories and novelties used in 19th studios
This theme includes example sections and will be revised and added to as we proceed. Suggestions for additions, improvements and the correction of factual errors are always appreciated. 
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812.01   Studio necessities >  Props, accessories and novelties: Curtains 
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812.02   Studio necessities >  A contemporary thought on the properties, accessories and novelties used in 19th studios 
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A piece in the 1862 The Photographic Journal being the Journal of the Photographic Society captured the difficulty with the selection of studio props:
There is always too much of the studio in these carte de visite portraits. We do not merely refer to the extraordinary backgrounds which some of these operators employ. Why a respectable old lady is to be represented as sitting without her bonnet in a chair placed upon a Brussels carpet in the middle of a terraced garden, is always very perplexing; and it is equally difficult to understand what the foundation can be for the theory, which seems to have possessed the minds of several of the photographers, that the middle-aged men of England generally spend their lives leaning against a Corinthian pillar, with a heavy curtain flapping about their legs, turning their backs to a magnificent view, and obviously standing in a frightful thorough draught.[1]
The point is well made and the situation becomes increasingly bizarre when the symbols of western civilization, such as Greek columns, were used as studio props around the world and we see Krooboys / Cabindas resting on a column[2], an anthropological Portrait of Two Men, Ainu from Saghelieu, Both in Costume, One with Earring in front of an inappropriate western painted studio background[3] and a semi-naked Aboriginal group photographed by Courret Hermanos posed in front of a background of a western house interior complete with that "heavy curtain".[4]  
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  1. Λ 15 December 1862,"Cartes de Visite of Celebrities", The Photographic Journal being the Journal of the Photographic Society, no. 128, p. 188 
  2. Λ Josť Agusto da Cunha Moraes, Krooboys / Cabindas, [Africa Occidental Album Photographico - Litterario por C. Moraes S, Ferreira], 1880 (ca), Albumen print, Private collection of Manuel Magalhaes 
  3. Λ Bronislaw Pilsudski, "Portrait of Two Men, Ainu from Saghelieu, Both in Costume, One with Earring", 1909, Photographic print, 5 x 6 ins (image) 8 x 10 ins (mount), National Museum of Natural History, Image ID: NAA INV 07034900 
  4. Λ Courret Hermanos, "An Aboriginal group", 1868 (ca), Carte de visite, National Library of Australia, nla.pic-vn3510476

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Thumbnail19th Century Photographic Studios: Properties, accessories and novelties 
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Released (February 24, 2010)

HomeVisual indexes > Curtains

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Refreshed: 19 January 2015, 00:55
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