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These are daguerreotypes as invented by Daguerre in France.
Around 1850, photos were produced which were actually weak negatives on glass but, when backed with a dark material or black paint, appeared as normal positive images: these were ambrotypes.
Both ambrotypes and daguerreotypes can be found in maroon ‘leather’ cases or highly ornate Union Cases made from a shiny and brittle thermoplastic material.
Jayne Shrimpton MA, photo dating expert and dress historian, offers a professional service to individuals and organisations wishing to date old photographs and artworks.
She works mainly with family historians, dating old photos and analysing family pictures, but also helps institutions and groups who would like to date an old photo or understand their vintage image collection.
Using her fashion history training and 25 years' practical experience of dating and interpreting historical portraits, Jayne dates old clothing styles and other visual clues in 18th and 19th century artworks and silhouettes, Victorian photographs, paintings and drawings, Edwardian photos and 20th century pictures.
She also uses further techniques for old photo dating, including identifying the type of photograph (its format), dating the card mount design and researching the photographer or studio's operational dates.
Using this broad approach, with an emphasis on dating old fashions, she successfully determines an accurate and usually close date range for family photographs and artworks and can often suggest the occasion that inspired their creation - an engagement, wedding, 'breeching', 'coming of age', 21st or landmark birthday, new job, wedding anniversary or mourning.
Old photographs from the UK feature significantly, yet Jayne has worked on pictures originating all over the world, from Ireland to the United States, Canada to Brazil, Russia to Australia, France to India and will do her best to help with all international inquiries.
Picture inquiries are handled individually and confidentially by email or occasionally in person, if a complete photograph album or fragile pictures are involved.
Clients can choose from different services ranging from basic photo dating to advanced picture analysis expressed in a 1-2 page report.