Musician Tintype

I think this is becoming another theme I’m collecting – this makes for the third image of a musician or group of musicians in my collection. It’s also, condition-wise, one of the most lovely tintypes I’ve found so far. As you can see, it came in this darling little paper slip-cover which has a fold-over cover to it made of the same pink paper as the backing. I love the overall quality of the image – you can certainly see quite distinctly the characteristics of a wet-plate image taken with a Petzval lens that would have been used at the time – the shallow depth of field and obvious field curvature (look how distorted the backdrop behind the subject is). I’d even be tempted to attribute the blur on the violin bow to the lens characteristics but knowing that this was at least a one second exposure, if not ten or fifteen, simple movement is a much more likely explanation. I’ve scanned the image both in and out of the paper sleeve to provide historical context for the image as well as display the entire image as made and seen by the photographer.

Tintype, Violinist, in presentation mat
Tintype, Violinist, in presentation mat
Tintype, Violinist, entire plate
Tintype, Violinist, entire plate

4 thoughts on “Musician Tintype”

    1. I’d put it in the 1870s, but it could be a little earlier or later. I’m no expert on Victorian fashions, but his jacket looks decidedly earlier rather than later.

  1. The violinist is left-handed or the photographer asked the musician to bring the instrument as he was left-handed to produce a “correct” image. What do you think?

    1. Actually, tintypes are usually laterally reversed unless the photographer used a prism to correct it. So it’s still a typical violin arrangement, we’re just seeing it backwards because of optics.

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