Posted on 06/03/2013

Photo taken on November 14, 2011

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Early Photography in Germany Early Photography in Germany


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half plate

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Two faces of Prussia: detail

Two faces of Prussia: detail
Half plate German ambrotype
photographer unknown, probably late 1850s

Two brothers - a Prussian soldier and an elegantly dressed civilian - proudly pose in this rare German ambrotype. An image of fraternal solidarity, but also an involuntary allegory of Prussia`s key to European hegemony: military might and prosperous bourgeoisie.

The ambrotype is mounted in a French-style passe-partout, and sealed with red paper. It retains its partially torn off original seals, which should be sacrificed for the safety of the image soon enough. No inscription on the back. It was acquired by the German seller in Wiesbaden (from a street vendor).

Based on its general aspect, the ambrotype could be loosely dated in the late 1850s-early 1860s. However, the essential clue is provided by the partially visible Pickelhaube on the table, which seems to be the slightly taller 1856/57 model Pickelhaube, if not the original 1842 model. My thanks go to drakegoodman, joerookery and Wooway1 for their kind feedback on the Prussian uniform.


View this ambrotype on Flickr.

elinor04 (Nóra Mészöly) has particularly liked this photo

elinor04 (Nóra Mészöly)
elinor04 (Nóra Mészö…
Gorgeous outfits - both uniform and clothes.
5 years ago.
skiagraphia has replied to elinor04 (Nóra Mészö…
Thank you! I like a lot the civilian brother`s matching waistcoat and bow tie.
5 years ago.