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Tragic Post Mortem ambrotype of Mother and Child

In Photographs > Ambrotypes > Show & Tell and Womens Clothing > Victorian Era Clothing > Show & Tell.
Photographs2190 of 4324Maddox patented reclining chairMysterious Odd Fellow and 1865 New York Herald (Lincoln's Assassination)
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Posted 4 years ago


(829 items)

This recently purchased ambrotype shows a grieving mother gently holding her recently deceased child for what was most likely the child's only photograph.

The ambrotype dates from about 1855 and is still sealed.

The general dark appearance of the ambrotype reinforces the sadness of the scene.

The close up of the child shows obvious indications of a PM.

Sadly this was a very common occurrence in the 19th century.

Reproductions of these images in any form is not authorized.



  1. AmberRose AmberRose, 4 years ago
    Poor little baby.
  2. scottvez scottvez, 4 years ago
    Thanks for looking amber. Poor little baby and poor mother-- she looks as if she is still in shock over her little one's death.

  3. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 4 years ago
    Are you sure Scott. Seems a bit morbid. Was this a common practice then? Not exactly like a hunter posing with his rifle & a 10 point buck. May have taken days to find a photographer back then & that makes me sick at my stomach. Maybe she just doesn't like children & the kid is asleep. I can see it from that angle as children are just so, -uh,- immature.
  4. scottvez scottvez, 4 years ago
    Yes, I am certain. The sunken eyes and flowers give it away.

    The practice of post mortem photography was common in this era. Often these represent the ONLY photograph of a child or infant. I used to find these photographs a little morbid and wouldn't buy them. Once I understood what they represented to the family my opinion (and ability to buy) changed.

  5. scottvez scottvez, 4 years ago
    Thanks official and moonstone.

  6. DrFluffy DrFluffy, 4 years ago
    So sad and it reminds me of my locket... Of course that's 60 years later.
  7. scottvez scottvez, 4 years ago
    Thanks for looking fluff and tlmbaran.

  8. scottvez scottvez, 4 years ago
    Thanks smiata.

  9. headhuntress headhuntress, 4 years ago
    Powerful, great details and those skunken eyes!
  10. ho2cultcha ho2cultcha, 4 years ago
    at least he wasn't squirming.

    [sorry, i just couldn't resist on such a somber topic]
  11. scottvez scottvez, 4 years ago
    Thanks for looking huntress-- it is one of the most impactfull PM images that I have ever owned.

  12. headhuntress headhuntress, 4 years ago
    Yes! Truly a beautiful thing PM photography and vastly misunderstood. Very special this PM is. I have a few cabinet cards and CDV's in my collection that you might enjoy. I'll try and post a few soon.
  13. scottvez scottvez, 4 years ago
    I'd like to see what you have huntress-- feel free to give me a heads up once you have them posted!

  14. Toni1969 Toni1969, 3 years ago
    sad. but i can see the sentiment and beauty of this. i am fascinated with the victorian post mortem photos.
  15. scottvez scottvez, 3 years ago
    Thanks for looking and commenting toni!


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