Tuesday, 22 May 2012


Three examples of Victorian photo retouching from 1883-84. The labels on the back tell us that these are photographic studio prints over-painted with artists’ oil colours – notes have been made about colour and tone to assist the Leeds-based painter. Mother, father and daughter have had their likenesses enhanced. Much more affordable than employing the services of a portrait painter and not necessarily greatly inferior to the product a local artist might have offered. Interesting to observe the different treatments – mother, thin-lipped and expressionless, breeding and parenting long in the past – father, paterfamilias, firm and resolute authority figure – daughter, every imperfection erased, the full Victorian glamour treatment to attract the eligible bachelor. The one idiosyncrasy they all share is possessing one eye significantly larger than the other. Family trait or artistic incompetence?

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