History with its flickering lamp stumbles along the trail of the past, trying to reconstruct its scenes, to revive its echoes, and kindle with pale gleams the passion of former days. ~Winston Churchill

27 November, 2012

The Civil War, Tinted

I haven't had a people of the civil war post in a long time, which is a shame as the photographs are striking to look at and started me into this blog in the first place. Fortunately I got sucked into the Library of Congress's collection for a few hours today (when I should have been studying for a photo history exam, ironically), so I have rather a lot of material now to draw from! Expect more of this in the coming months. 

Today's theme: hand-tinting. People were crazy about photography right away, but sad it didn't yet come in colour. So a market sprung up for the tinting of photographs with paints, aided by the fact that photography put many former painters of miniatures out of work. They tinted daguerreotypes (like this one), and when they moved on to tintypes, ambrotypes, and glass negative-paper photography, they tinted those even more. You almost always see some degree of tinting in ambrotypes and higher-end tintypes, especially the cheeks. Jewellery and buttons are also often painted with gold. (just glance through this post of civil war portraits!). However, it didn't always stop there. Parts of clothing, all the clothing, parts of the backdrop, tablecloths... all were potentially coloured. Sometimes this is a nice effect. Sometime it's.... not. (Though, granted, sometimes the different rates of deterioration in the imaging substance and the paints means the colour looks more drastic today than it did originally. Sometimes, though, it was just flat out badly done).

Portraits were done very widely in the civil war, as ambrotypes and tintypes, and there was a similar wide variety of tinting going on.

From the Library of Congress.



Library of Congress

A Confederate captain. Ambrotype. Source



Library of Congress

Union soldier with bayoneted musket. Ambrotype. Source



Library of Congress

Unidentified Confederate soldier. Ambrotype. Source




Library of Congress

Union soldier. Ambrotype. Source



Library of Congress

Soldier in Confederate 2nd Lieutenant's uniform. Tintype. Source



Library of Congress

Union soldier.  Tintype. Source



Library of Congress

Union soldier. Tintype. Source



Library of Congress

Illinois soldier. Tintype. Source



Library of Congress

Tinting to make you cringe. Two unidentified Union sailors. Tintype. Source



Library of Congress

Union soldier. Tintype. Source



Library of Congress

Mary Bannister, wife of Private George H. Bannister. Tintype. Source



Library of Congress

Sergeant Robert Black and Private Herman Beckman. Tintype. Source



Library of Congress

Soldier in Union artillery uniform. Ambrotype. Source



Library of Congress

Solder in Union 2nd Lieutenant's uniform. Tintype. Source



Library of Congress

Confederate soldier. Source



Library of Congress

Private William B.  Haberlin of the Pennsylvania Light Artillery. Source


1 comment:

5a1645c6-7f7c-11e0-9b40-000bcdcb2996 said...

How ordinary these people appear to be and, in so many photographs, how young. The other thing that strikes me is the hodgepodge of clothing in many of the "uniforms".

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