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HomeContentsOnline exhibitions > 19th Century Photographic Studios: Properties, accessories and novelties

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19th Century Photographic Studios
Properties, accessories and novelties

This listing which will be improved over time lists the commonest properties to be seen in nineteenth century studio portraits.
Interior scenes - Visible
  • Chairs (vast variety of types - some specifically for babies and small children)
  • Tables
  • Desks
  • Pedestals and columns (innumerable styles, heights and widths)
  • Mantels and fireplaces
  • Posing furniture (chairs, lounges)
  • Day beds (a more common item in the Mediterranean and Middle East and found in photographs by the Zangaki Brothers and Pascal Sebah.)
  • Beds (They only appear in post-mortem, erotic or art studio photographs. Most post-mortem photographs were carried out in the home but there were cases when the body of a child or deceased loved one was taken to a studio to preserve a memory. In the cases where children are shown in bedrooms such as some of the Lewis Carroll albumen prints it is now regarded as questionable.)
  • Drapery (heavy fabrics, drapes, curtains, throws)
  • Carpets, rugs, furs and other floor coverings
  • Large ceramic pots and urns
  • Plant and fern stands, planters and artificial plants
  • Windows
  • Screens
Interior scenes - Rarely visible
  • Head rests and clamps
  • Posing rests
  • Curtain stands
Exterior scenes - Visible
  • Rustic wooden fences
  • Rustic gates and stiles
  • Porches
  • Bridges
  • Balustrades
  • Benches (rustic wood and stone)
  • Statues
  • Pedestals
  • Stone walls
  • Rockwork
  • Park gates
  • Artificial grass, or furs used to indicate grass
  • Branches, twigs, tree trunks and limbs (real or papier mache)
  • Rocks
  • Simulated snow (using furs or rock salt)
  • Swings
  • Entire rustic buildings and temples
  • Transportation (mockups of sledges, hot air balloons, trains, row boats and later cars and planes)

When examining a photograph it can be important to see if the items in the studio match the ethnicity of the sitter. For example if the sitter is Chinese is the style of the table and chair also in the Chinese style or European. 



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