| || |
Larry Gottheim, Be-hold, Inc
Courtesy of Larry Gottheim - Be-Hold (49 / 20)
The tintype was patented in 1856 by Peter Neff, who had been assigned the patent by the inventor Hamilton L. Smith. They called the iron plates "melainotypes" and these original plates were sold stamped with the Neff patent on the edge. This series is an important example. These early plates are heavier than the more common later tintypes, and are true 1/6 plate size, instead of the CDV size that became more common, and that allowed them to be placed in albums alongside CDV's, rather than having to be placed in cases. Like the ambrotype, these early iron plates aspired and sometimes achieved a conscious artistic status, as opposed to the more mundane and attractively lively character of the later tintypes.
Smith and Neff (who had earlier been associated with Yale) were on the faculty of Kenyon College in Ohio, and this important series of photographs of Greek art objects has an academic character. It seems to be a recording of a collection of objects in some museum or other institution, and associates this new process with highest level of art. These 10 plates are all undamaged; tones vary slightly.