Posted 8 years ago
This lovely 1897 orange-sepia toned gravure is actually an advertisement inserted into an 1898 photographic almanac (a very large yearly book). If you think about it, advertisers have been including samples of their wares in magazines, such as ‘scratch and sniff’ perfume samples, for a long time.
In the 1890s, commercial printers often advertised in early photography catalogues, journals, almanacs and so forth. They sold processes that could mass print photographic images from a metal plate.
This 1890s advertising image is among the finest I’ve seen; a gorgeous and delicate work promoting a carbon printing company called “The Carbon Studio.” There’s no companion text with this gravure ... the image stands on its own merit.
The Carbon Studio's specialty was photographing paintings and other art objects using the carbon process. As background, the carbon process was invented in 1855 and adapted to using colored pigments in 1868.
The title “A Zephyr” is perfect. By definition, zephyr means a gentle breeze or describes various lightweight fabrics. The image has both as seen in the gentle caress of a breeze in the girl’s hair and her diaphanous clothing.
It’s almost worth removing and framing.