Another CDV added to the collection. My first Mathew Brady CDV with the Washington DC studio imprint. I suspect that she was a circus sideshow performer, because even in the Victorian era when zaftig women were more popular, she is not the kind of zaftig that the Victorians found sexy.
Also note the book under her foot. I suspect it was just a posing prop to give her body some form and dynamic, but it would be interesting to know if there were something meaningful to the book underfoot. Books were a very common studio prop, usually held in the hand, to indicate that the subject was literate and had some kind of intellectual accomplishment. By extension, stepping on a book would seem to imply a deliberately and blatantly anti-intellectual attitude, which would have been at extreme odds with the contemporary ethos, and would seem out of character for a studio like Mathew Brady’s – he went out of his way to cultivate associations with the best and the brightest of his day. So it’s probably just a posing device, no meaning implied.
I was out to my parents’ house for lunch yesterday, and on a whim, as we were discussing possible family vacation plans, I decided that it was time to bring the studio camera from their basement down to the studio (a much more logical place for it to live). So with a bit of clever maneuverings, we drove their Toyota Highlander across the snow-filled yard (they still have a good 6 inches on their grass) and pulled it up at the basement door. Mom had this fear that the Toyota (with a good 8 inch ground clearance) would get stuck in the snow, so she got on the John Deere lawn tractor with the snow-blower and blew a path from the driveway to the basement door. Completely un-needed, and she probably did more harm to the lawn with the John Deere (which had chains on the tires) than the Toyota would have.
Dad and I got the camera stand out of the basement, which was a minor miracle, as my dad is 72, with a bad back, and the stand is made of solid oak and cast iron. It fit, barely, in the back of the Highlander with the rear seats folded forward. On the way home I rounded up a couple friends and we unloaded everything down at the studio much easier than getting the stand into the back of the car (it helps that the studio is at street level and we only had to take the stand up one single step to get it in the back door. While I have the Highlander, I’m going to do another run over to the studio today with a bunch of accessories, and try to get the space a bit more organized.
Just added two more cartes-de-visite to the collection, both Mathew Bradys. My first Brady celebrity card – General Joseph Hooker, and my first Brady from his Washington studio. The DC studio mark seems far more rare than the New York studio, so far. Maybe I’m just not looking in the right places for them, but out of the seven I have, only one is the DC studio, and of the ones I’ve looked at, maybe 50 or so, I think I’ve only seen the DC imprint two or three times.