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

16 November, 2013

Backdrops of the Civil War

Another journey into the backdrops used by photographer's studios, this time in a certain context. During the American Civil War, ambrotype and tintype portraits of soldiers were made in great numbers by photographers who set up temporary studios at military camps (this blog has featured quite a few). While the majority of photographers just went with the plain canvas backdrop, painted backdrops were also in common use. Backdrops depicting camp scenes--usually with a prominent American flag-- were popular, along with a variety of landscapes, from the realistic to the somewhat fanciful. It is very interesting to see the kinds of scenes these young men wanted to be placed in (or the photographer though they might want to be placed it, at least). 


Library of Congress

A Union soldier with a landscape backdrop. Source



Library of Congress

A Union soldier with a checkered terrace backdrop. Source



Library of Congress

A Union soldier with a military camp backdrop. Source





Library of Congress

A Union soldier with a palm tree backdrop. Source



Library of Congress

A Union soldier with a camp backdrop. Source



Library of Congress

A soldier in a Union Uniform with a too-small backdrop. Source



Library of Congress

A Union soldier in front of a backdrop with palm trees. Source



Library of Congress

A Union soldier with a camp backdrop. Source



Library of Congress

Two soldiers posed in front of a landscape backdrop. Source



Library of Congress

A Union soldier and a backdrop with checkered veranda and rocky seascape. Source



Library of Congress

A Union soldier with a camp backdrop. Source



Library of Congress

A group of young Union soldiers posed against a landscape backdrop (a posing table and head stand can be seen to the right!) Source



Library of Congress

Two women with a plantation in the backdrop. Source



Library of Congress

A Union soldier with a camp backdrop. Source



Library of Congress

A Union soldier in front of the same backdrop as the man above. Source



Library of Congress

A sailor with an on-a-ship backdrop. Source



Library of Congress

A Union soldier in front of a sketchily painted camp backdrop. Source



Library of Congress

A Union soldier with a landscape backdrop (the LOC caption says landscape "with fort", but I don't see the fort). Source



Library of Congress

A Union soldier with a landscape backdrop including a boat and fort (this time I see the fort!) Source



Library of Congress

A solder in a Union cap with a fancy mansion- rocky seascape background. Source



3 comments:

jelly andrews said...

Thanks a lot for sharing these pictures. But are these pictures been preserved in a museum? Approximately, how old are these pictures?

Jim Rutherford said...

they are in the Library of Congress. They are all around 150 years old.

Anna said...

Thanks for noting that, Jim, exactly!!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Search This Blog