Carte de Visite. Photographer: Notman & Sandham. Circa 1877 – 1882.
Price: To be determined. Size: About 2 and 1/2 x 4″
The Notman collection (about 650,000 photographic works) is, according to Marian Scott’s article in the Montreal Gazette, “…the jewel in the crown of the McCord Museum,” the McCord being located in Montréal, Québec, Canada. Though our carte-de-visite above does not show off the incredible clarity nor have the chance to exhibit any of the innovation that the Notman firm became known for, it’s still a lovely portrait of a beautiful young woman. She wears a Christian cross, possibly jeweled, on a rather large-link short chain; a high, white ruffled collar under a dark blouse or dress; and a bow tying back her dark hair, which is worn parted in the middle with short bangs.
Photo and paint….
We don’t necessarily think of painters (artists in oil, watercolor, etc.) in conjunction with photographic artists. Or, at least, I confess, I did not. Notman is said to have developed and made popular the composite photo, where individual studio portraits were taken, cut out, fastened onto the composite negative of a painted background (this is my understanding from piecing together a couple of online descriptions) and printed. Below, a well-known example entitled, “La culbute” (The bounce) of the Montréal Snowshoe Club. Notman & Son, 1886. Per author Sarah Parsons, William Notman: Life & Work, the Notman firm offered oil paintings of all its photos. No wonder then, that Notman’s photography company had its own art department (which was for some years headed by Henry Sandham.)
Below, a couple of articles referencing Henry Sandham, from the Boston Herald, January 23rd and August 14th, 1881.
Last, but not least, another prominent Canadian, printer George-Édouard Desbarats (1838 – 1893) who was the founder of the lithography firm that did the reverse of our Montréal Girl cdv. The printing on the bottom left of the card shows “Desbarats, lith., Montreal.”
Sources: William Notman. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Notman. (accessed February 26, 2017).
Henry Sandham. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Sandham. (accessed February 26, 2017).
Scott, Marian. “William Notman: portrait of a visionary photographer at McCord Museum.” montrealgazette.com, November 4, 2016. Web accessed February 26, 2017.
Parsons, Sarah. (2014). William Notman: Life & Work. http://www.aci-iac.ca/content/art-books/19/Art-Canada-Institute_William-Notman.pdf. (accessed February 26, 2017)
File: The Bounce, Montreal Snowshoe Club.jpg. n.d. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Bounce,_Montreal_Snowshoe_Club.jpg. (accessed February 26, 2017).
The Sunday Herald. (Boston, MA). Sunday, January 23, 1881, p. 2. (genealogybank.com)
The Sunday Herald. (Boston, MA). Sunday, August 14, 1881, p. 12. (genealogybank.com)
Desbarats, George-Édouard. Dictionary of Canadian Biography, Vol. XII (1891 – 1900). http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/desbarats_george_edouard_12E.html. (accessed February 26, 2017).