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Early Photographic Portraits from the Permanent Collection

Friday, September 27, 2019 10:00 AM - Sunday, January 24, 2021 5:00 PM
The Grace Museum
102 Cypress Street Abilene, TX 79601
Collection of The Grace Museum, Gift of Mrs. Eric Lavelle

Capturing a likeness goes back to the earliest of times, however, with the invention of cameras in the 1800s, portraits became more popular and easily attainable. Cartes-de-visite and Cabinet Cards were albumen prints mounted on small cards, typically portraits of the subject. The Cartes-de-visite, invented in France, were smaller cards made between the 1860s and 1870s. A larger portrait, called the Cabinet Card, was popular up until the late 1900s. Professional photographers typically took photographs in their studios and made several copies of the cards for the individual to give to friends and family. Tintypes, popular from the 1850s until the 1890s, were sometimes a cheaper option than earlier daguerreotypes for those part of the working classes.

The photographs in this exhibition are from the permanent collection of The Grace Museum. Although most of the individuals in the photographs (besides those of the royal family) are anonymous, their clothing, their pose, their gaze, all are signs of the Victorian Era they lived in. However, how much different are the digital portraits we take of ourselves and our family today than the portraits from over 150 years ago? 

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