First Steps: Non-standard Studio Portraits
These are photographs that do not fall into the carte-de-visite, cabinet card or postcard sizes described on other pages. These are just some of the odds in my collection but the rough dates may prove useful.
The overall size of the card mount is given
(6cm x 4.3cm) A much used format. A small photograph showing head and shoulders on thick card perhaps with a gold edge and rounded corners. These were used in the 1890s for family photographs, some of the later large photograph albums had slots made to take these.
example (enlarged view)
(5.7cm x 3.2cm) A much used format. Small card with photograph on thick card with rounded corners and gold edges - same as above but smaller, used around 1901
(5.5cm x 4.0cm) size varies. Small loose cheap portrait photograph sometimes marked 'American Midget' though made in UK. Poorly made with black edges showing on the print, on thin card (tends to curl) sometimes have a number above the head. Examples seen look 1908 - 1913
example (enlarged view)
(10.5cm x 8cm) Rarely used. An oblong format that dates from around 1898-1902 and mounted on dark thick coloured card (brown or green) and may have a gold edge and rounded corners. Typically used for portrait of two persons.
(12cm x 5.5cm) Rarely used. Long and thin with rounded corners, suitable for a full length view of a person. On thick plain card without gold edges, used about 1908 - 1910.
(11.4cm x 6.1cm) Unusual. Long and thin with square corners, dark card with gold printing, no gold edges. Suitable for full-length portrait of two persons. May be European and used 1920s.
(12cm x 5.8cm) Photo Postcard made in the UK but called 'The Yankee' etc. Produced on normal postcard paper, used for a 3/4 portrait c.1906 - 1908 as far as seen.
(12.2cm x 6.8cm) Plain card mount with square corners for an oval portrait, pressed oval shape for photograph (7.2cm x 4.4cm) used for 3/4 view of person. The mount may have the photographers mark embossed in silver. Used 1920s - 1930s.
(15 x 16.2cm) (17.5cm x 11.5cm) (20.8cm x 13.8cm) (7cm x 10cm). Much used formats. Very thick card with square corners and bevelled edges. Used for 1/2 or 3/4 view, photo print goes right up to the edge and the subject is often masked out producing a misty effect around the edges, brownish tint to the image on creamy background. Some have added pencil lines and these may be signed by the photographer. Used about 1912 to perhaps 1920.
(17cm x 12.2cm) A portrait format. Card strong with square corners, dark green and embossed with a fine pattern, square corners, 1cm gap around the print, used c.1903.
18cm x 12cm) Larger sort of cabinet card. Thick card, square corners, gold edge, may be patterned and border lines on the front, back plain. Photo print size 14 x 10 cm. Used UK in c.1901
(20.8cm x 15.5cm) Photo print size seen used 1940s for weddings etc.
(21.8cm x 13.2cm) Boudoir Card. Like a cabinet card but larger. On thick card perhaps with gold edge and gold photographers name embossed at the lower edge. Actual photograph print (19cm x 12.5cm). Plain back and rounded corners. Used mid to late 1890s.
(24.5cm x 19.5cm) Portrait format on thick photographic paper, UK 1930s seen, probably mounted with attached card and tissue paper stuck at the top.
© Roger Vaughan 2004