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Subject: Portrait on photographic base

Portrait on photographic base

From: Luis Nadeau <awef6t>
Date: Wednesday, August 14, 1996
Peter Stott <pstott [at] emerald__tufts__edu> writes

>....
>    right at the close of the Civil War.  Among the things we found
>    was a rather large portrait of one of my ancestors.  I don't
>    believe that it is all that old, but it is still rather
>    puzzling.  It looks like a cross between a drawing and a
>    photograph.  It is on paper that is glued or fused to canvas or
>    some type of fabric.
>....
>    I am also curious about any
>    insight you might have on the exact type of process that might
>    have been used to create the picture. Was drawing on top of a
>    photo common?

It was relatively common. These photographs were called "pastel
photographs", "sketch photographs" or "sketch portraits". You'll
find more information about them in my Encyclopedia of Printing,
Photographic and Photomechanical Processes. They consisted basically
of a photographic enlargement printed very light on albumen silver
paper. This was worked-up by hatching with a pencil or pen, which
tended to give them the appearance of an engraving. For coloring
they used chalk colors by mixing fine pipeclay, gum arabic, water,
and the required pigment

Luis Nadeau

                                  ***
                  Conservation DistList Instance 10:19
                 Distributed: Thursday, August 15, 1996
                       Message Id: cdl-10-19-003
                                  ***
Received on Wednesday, 14 August, 1996

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