FRAMED UNION OFFICER BY BENDANN OF BALTIMORE

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Item Code: 1054-679

This nicely framed clear photograph is a vignette bust view of a Union officer, probably a first lieutenant, one rank bar certainly shows on each straps, but perhaps a captain (currently a matter of some debate at the office and proposals for a bet, though we have yet to appoint a judge.) He wears something of a scraggly beard, with hair to match (likely brushed back with hair oil before the visit to the studio,) but looks deeply into the camera lens. The reversal evident in the image, and what must have been some gilding to the shoulder straps, indicates this is a period copy of a wartime tintype. This was often done for the very good reason that the subject died in the war and the family had no other option for photograph to display.

The photograph is housed in its original, gold-painted ogee wood frame and bears on the reverse the label of David Bendann of Baltimore. The Bendann galleries are still open today. Brothers Daniel and David trained at a Whitehurst gallery in Richmond before the war, opened a Whitehurst gallery in Baltimore in 1857, and then one of their own in Baltimore in 1859. Civil War photography collectors will be very familiar with their work. David founded his own gallery in 1874. This likely dates the copy, but also suggests our officer was one of the loyal Marylanders who served in the Union army during the Civil War. Probably no state provided more examples of families divided by loyalties to north or south during the war. This is a slightly haunting image. We would hope that his identity someday comes to light.  [SR]

Please note: this frame contains glass; click here for our policy for shipment of framed items containing glass.

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