Dating a picture frame

, vol.186, 9 April 1992, pp.54-6 (for the Delaval papers, Northumberland Record Office); London Metropolitan Archives, Sun Fire Office policy registers, 144/195788, 150/204877, 180/253389.

William Badger, 97 Boundary Road, St John's Wood, London NW 1871-1887 as carver and gilder, 49 Dorset St, Portman Square 1877-1888 as manufacturing artists’ colourman.

Each of these different types of processes were used for many photographs, and just knowing which type of paper, glass or metal was used can give a range of years when they were the popular choice for photographers to use.

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See British artists' suppliers on the National Portrait Gallery website.

John Bainbridge, see Thomas Fentham William Barry, see Francis Draper *Samuel Bartington 1816-1845, Mrs Mahala Bartington 1846-1851, Mahala Bartington & Son (also described as M. Bartington)1852-1860, Benjamin Bartington 1860-1866. At 24 Beckford Row, Walworth, London 1816-1828 or later, 4 Crown Row, Mile End Road 1832-1833, 95 Wardour St 1833-1848, 58 Wardour St 1849-1864, 45 Wardour St 1860, 24 Charlotte St 1865, 53 Wardour St 1866.

The material was Melainotype and to cut these pictures apart a pair of tin sheers would be used.

Ozotope was another method that was used beginning in 1898, this was a process that used gelatin silver bromide, which transferred by contact with pigment paper.

The one thing that was odd about these photographs, was that the picture would appear opposite of how the person was standing or sitting, just as they would appear in a mirror.

The material that was used for these photographs was not actually tin, but became referred to as tin because they were made out of cheaper metal, rather than silver.

His widow appears to be the Mary Babell, who married John Cobb on 24 February 1772 at St Paul Covent Garden, probably John Cobb (c.1715-1778), the well-known cabinet-maker of 72 St Martin's Lane.

Little is known of Babell’s work but the Delaval papers document a commission in 1766 when Babell wrote on 24 July to Sir John Hussey Delaval at Doddington Hall, Lincolnshire, mentioning sending ‘The Border for the two Picture Frames’, and continuing, ‘I am Sorry the Work came above the Price that my Lady was pleas’d to mention.

Another clue might be the background, and on many the photographers name will be on the bottom of the cabinet card or on the back of the picture.


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