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Black woman with a white child

(AFRICAN AMERICAN.). Black woman with white child

No place, c. 1870-90

Sixth plate tintype (2 ½ x 3 ½ in.), hand-painted jewelry including a brooch, rings and earrings. Light wear. Very good condition.

This delightful photograph shows a kind-looking young black woman sitting with a somewhat sour-looking young white child. Both are finely dressed for the occasion, the woman in an elegant dress with lace collar and the child in a dress with an elaborate lace collar. The photographer has highlighted in gold the fine jewelry each wears.

This interesting and seemingly endearing pose reflects several solutions to the problem of keeping a young child still for the long exposure time required by the tintype process.  It appears that the woman is leaning her head firmly against the child’s. At the same time she holds the child’s head still from behind. A broad black sash or belt further immobilizes the subject!