FRAMED OVAL ALBUMEN PENNSYLVANIA MILITIA OFFICER

$550.00 ON HOLD

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 766-1798

This full-standing albumen portrait dates about 1861 and shows an officer in an 1830s-style uniform resting one hand on a table next to him, on which rests his dragoon-style helmet with crest, plume, large front plate and metal chinstrap. His coat is the single-breasted cut-away or tailcoat style with light colored collar and seven large buttons showing, lightly tinted gold, as have been his cuff buttons, epaulets, belt plate, sword and sling chains, and helmet fittings. His sash is thin purplish red, and likewise the top portion of his helmet plume. He wears white gauntlets that have short cuffs and reveal large cuff buttons set around the cuff. The table cover has been lightly tinted also, and shows clearly its floral pattern. To the left rear a chair appears slightly out of focus, undoubtedly pushed out of the way by the photographer or his assistant to allow the subject to strike his pose.

His sword is a straight-bladed eagle pommel in the Widmann style, leading us to suppose he is a Pennsylvania officer. The eagle is very well defined and the clarity of the image is good enough to show engraving on the gilt brass sword scabbard. The helmet plate is the large diamond shape popular about 1830 and his belt plate is the interlocking two-piece oval form patterned after the U.S. 1819 pattern, but used by militia for quite some time thereafter. He wears his sash rather long and it appears to be the early flat style, without thick fringed knots. His epaulets show a medium width fringe, but specific rank insignia is not visible.

The officer appears to be of middle-age and has adopted a slight grimace for the camera to lend solemnity to the occasion. The style of the uniform would indicate his unit dated back to the 1830s at least. Some work with period illustrations of militia company uniforms might reveal the organization, but the individual may also be identifiable. Officers of uniformed volunteer militia companies were usually from society’s upper crust and he likely played a part in the state’s military during the Civil War. He certainly made an effort to convey his own sense of importance.

The photo is matted and framed in what appears to be its original frame with a modern, perhaps acid-free, backing bearing some collector notes in pencil.    [sr] [ph:m]

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