# 40284


Gem tintype portrait of a young man. Melbourne, circa 1885.

$35.00 AUD

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Tintype photograph with subtle tinting, in the standard ‘gem’ format, 45 x 30 mm, on original embossed mount with oval window, 101 x 63 mm; the backing paper holding the tintype in place on the verso also bears the wet stamp of ‘American Gem Studio, Allen & Gove, 95 Swanston Street, Melbourne’; the tintype is in excellent condition; the mount has a touch of foxing, but is otherwise fine.

According to Davies & Stanbury (The Mechanical Eye in Australia) the American Gem Studio was a relatively short-lived business name used by Allen & Gove in 1884-85.

The tintype, a very cheap (but too often nasty) photographic process, never really took off in Australia in the same way that it had in North America during the Civil War period. Small albums for gem tintypes were manufactured by Allen & Gove in Sydney and Melbourne and actually exported to the United States, where they still appear on the market from time to time. The tintype in Australia met with fairly limited success from the early 1880s to around 1900, with the heyday of the gem tintype format being around the late 1880s, but the tintype never seriously challenged the universal appeal of the albumen print carte de visite. Tintypes bearing the imprint of an Australian studio are relatively scarce, the majority of Australian tintypes having been sold with plain mounts, which makes this attractive example with the imprint of Edelsten quite desirable.