Tuesday, 9 June 2009

74th Carnival of Genealogy - Swimsuit Edition

74th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy - Swimsuit

The 74th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy at Jasia's Creative Gene blog is a "Swimsuit Edition." For lack of any presentable examples of myself, I've had to settle on this 1930s tintype of an unidentified woman in my collection. It's a particularly late example of a tintype and there must have been few photographers still in business using this technique by the 1930s.

Image © and collection of Brett Payne

The photograph (44 x 62 mm) is mounted behind a printed card frame (82 x 126 mm) with a 38 x 56 mm window. The tintype is actually very dark and I have digitally enhanced the central part of the image above so that the image is a little clearer. Although it is obvious that the subject is in a bathing suit and standing in water submerged up to her thighs, the portrait itself is not particularly clear and contains few distinctive features to aid in the process of identification or dating. Even the horizon is not clearly delineated. To me, the swimsuit is too revealing to be very early, and the woman's hair style suggests perhaps the 1930s or 1940s.

Image © and collection of Brett Payne

The reverse shows only the paper pasted on to the back of the mount to keep the tintype in place, with sadly no inscriptions or printing to indicate the name of subject, photographer or location.

Image © and courtesy of Nigel Aspdin

The printed card mount very firmly dates the photograph to the period between the wars, and probably in the 1930s. The motor car was commonly used to illustrate the covers of touring maps during this period, so I have used some examples to illustrate the trend. The first of these, shown above and from a similar era to the tintype card mount, is from a Fourth Edition (1936) of the Ordnance Survey "Quarter-Inch" map (Price: Three Shillings) and comes from the collection of Nigel Aspdin.

Image © and courtesy of Nigel Aspdin

However, the use of motor car motif had begun much earlier, as shown by the ornate design on this 1914 edition of the Ordnance Survey "Half-Inch" Road Map (Price: Three Shillings), also courtesy of Nigel.

Image © and courtesy of Rick Jones

This Automobile Association "12-miles-to-the-inch" Touring Map published by John Bartholomew & Son, and courtesy of Rick Jones (Motorists' Roadmaps on Old Classic Car), is a much more colourful style and was probably produced in the 1920s.


  1. This was a great post to read, Brett.
    Thanks for sharing this!

  2. Thanks, Bill, I'm glad you enjoyed it too. It was a good opportunity to include something of one my other great interests, maps.


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