Unusual cased photographic image of a lovely lady wearing a satin dress and a stunning double strand of pearls, from the late 1920's or very early 1930's. Delicately hand-tinted sepia tone print on an emulsion-coated milk glass plate in 1/6 plate size, the process known as opalotype or opaltype.
Patented in 1857 but never common, opalotypes gradually waned in popularity and finally disappeared in the 1930's. They were particularly prized for upscale portraits, being compared in their delicacy of detail and softness of mood to watercolors, pastels, and ivory miniatures.
This beautiful image is covered in a domed glass and bound in a brass matte that is much heavier than the mattes of typical 19th century cased images. In its original leatherette case, lined with deep blue velvet and closed by a button thumb catch, and bearing the photographer's label behind the image: "Morrall Rochester NY". J.I. Morrall advertised for portrait photography help wanted at his 154 East Avenue Studio in the Sept. 20, 1922 Bulletin of Photography, a trade publication.
A fine example of an uncommon technique by a documented American photographer working at one of the prime centers of photography in the early years of the 20th century.
Dimensions: Image is 1/6 plate size, 2 5/8 x 3 1/4". Matte slightly larger. Case measures 3 1/4 x 4 x 3/4".
Marks: Inside case original label reads "Morrall, Rochester N.Y."
Condition: There are some pinpoint spots on the image where it appears the emulsion has blistered away from the glass plate, but they seem to be stable and we have not removed the image from the matte because of its delicacy. Otherwise fine condition, case has some slight wear but hinge is intact and catch works perfectly.
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