Posted 5 years ago
This is a follow on to a recent post by SpiritBear of an image of a portrait printed inside of a decorative paper scroll. The effect is nice ... refer to: http://www.collectorsweekly.com/stories/198732-interesting-antique-photo
Scott (scottvez) noted that “photographers technique is found with some regularity at this time period.” Yes. Absolutely spot on. This post is for Scott, SpiritBear and anyone who is curious about the photographic accessories to create the illusion of a portrait printed on a paper scroll (or on a cloud or in an artistic frame).
Of the many advertisements in my catalogue library, I chose two that resemble the image in SpiritBear’s post. The first is from an 1888 W.D. Gatchell photo materials catalogue for “Spurr’s Scroll Negatives”. The second, for “Spurr’s Border Negatives”, is from Buchanan’s Complete Illustrated Catalogue of 1896. These imaging accessories are real negatives available for sale to photographers who want to offer something special for their clientele. Scrolls were only one type of border. Some makers created templates of artistic frames and clouds.
Spurr’s two advertisements illustrate sixteen different types of scroll borders; none of which is an exact match of SpiritBear’s post but you get the idea. It appears that Spurr might have offered over 50 different scroll and border negatives.
Printing is likely a two step masking process of the portrait and the border negative. In all my years of collecting I have never seen any of the actual products and cannot describe the exact steps to make the images. Yet it works. Now that Scott knows about these, maybe he will find a scroll or border negative at one of the many image shows he attends.
Today, photographers have PhotoShop (etc.) to work with. Yet the concept of using masks to enhance an image is pretty much the same. Anyhow, pretty ingenious when you think about it.
Ohh ... and these large photographic supply houses sold art for the backside of image cards!