Two Ambrotypes One Half Plate, One Quarter Plate, Capturing the Same Two Sisters from Girls to Young Women?


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THE STORY - I maybe wrong but when these two cased photographs came up in a single lot at an Auction I could not escape the strong feeling that I was looking at the same two Sisters taken several years apart, but it is only what I see in the photographs there is no provenance to prove it. But I can not shake this thought so I think it is only right that I sell them together. Both of the photos are I believe Ambrotypes, although not an Expert I have tried the Magnet Test on each and both times it falls off the glass, which I believe means they are not Tintypes. The Larger of the two with the wonderful image of the Younger Sisters is Large in size and is termed a Half Plate, measuring 5&1/2" in height and 4&1/4" in width and are not often found. The image is wonderful with the two sisters dressed alike the older one sitting with the young one leaning into her, they hold hands and the older Sister looks down lovingly at her sister with a protective arm around her shoulder as the younger one looks directly into the camera. The smaller of the two photos is known as a Sixth Plate, measuring 3&1/4" in height and 2&3/4" in width. It shows 'The Sisters' slightly older as young women again both dressed alike, and again with the older sister's hand caringly around the shoulders of the younger one. And their stripes dresses I have to say are quite incredible almost geometric in design with the younger sister appearing to wear a white blouse with a massive bow underneath. Each of the Ambrotypes are in there own leather and wood cases and the larger one has an embossed pattern on the front. Both the cases have wonderful lush velvet on the inside cover again the larger one has an embossed pattern where the small one is plain.

AGE - Younger Sisters - Half Plate - Circa 1860. Older Sisters Sisters Sixth Plate - Circa 1865

CONDITION - YOUNGER SISTERS - HALF PLATE - This Ambrotype is in very good condition, I think the young sister's face is slightly out of focus but this is not a fault in the Ambrotype it is just a characteristic of how difficult it was for children to stay still for the long period of time needed to take the photo, so for me it enhances it rather than detracts from it. The outside of the case is a little scuffed especially at the centre and the same is true of the underside but I think more sparingly. There is a finger print on the glass which I have not attempted to clean off.

CONDITION - OLDER SISTERS - SIXTH PLATE. Both the case and the Ambrotype are not in such good condition as the larger one. The front and of the case is less scuffed but the spine is loose, although it has not separated. The Ambrotype itself is I think not of the same quality as the larger one and does have some spots of green mould on the Brass Matt, although this is not on the photograph itself. There is also what looks like it could be a watermark at the bottom corner just below the Older Sister's hand. Both these issues have been taken into account with the pricing.

DIMENSIONS -(Approx) YOUNGER SISTERS - HALF PLATE - Height 5&1/2" / 14cm, Width 4&1/4" / 11cm, Depth 1/2" / 1.5cm. OLDER SISTERS - SIXTH PLATE - Height 3&3/4" / 9.5cm, Width 3" / 7.5. Depth 1/2" / 1.5cm

It would be so lovely to know for certain that these were the same two Sisters, but I have to say from the moment I spotted them in an Auction Catalogue to now with the listing of them I still strongly believe they are, but unless there is something written underneath the Ambrotypes on the cases, which I am not going to take out to find out it will remain a mystery. But what I can say is that I find each of the Ambrotypes extremely touching with the posing of the Sisters and their display of their love for one another which is enhanced with them being dressed almost identically in I have to say very stylish dresses. And of course it cannot be denied that it is very lovely that one of them is also rather rare being of the larger Half Plate in Size

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