The “Tenn” Dollar Archivist: Knoxville Lad

Picnooga has dozens of portrait photography specimens from Chattanooga photographers in its collection. When I sometimes purchase portraits in lots, it’s more cost-effective that way, I’ll find random bonus images from other areas. In such a transaction a few years back, this photo caught my interest straight away. This image only cost a buck, maybe two.

Probably in the late-1880s, Mrs. W. Baker ordered a pastel copy of the image. There are instructions on how the photo should be colored on the verso. The printed 2513 is a catalog number for the negative retained by the photographer. She paid $3.98 for the newly commissioned rendering, which is well over $100 in today’s economy.

It was popular in the Victorian era to blow up and colorize photography using a pastel overlay for an artsy and custom portrait look. You’ll sometimes find the pastel renderings mounted in oval convex frames and any antique mall coast-to-coast is going to have a least a handful in stock.

The last photo (below) is an imagining of how the photograph could have looked colorized and ready to hang in the parlor.

Thank goodness for this fancy lad, the Little Lord Fauntleroy look went out with the bustle.

  • Front
  • Verso
  • Unrestored attempt to colorize
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