Ambrotype – The Faded

A framed half plate ambrotype that I picked up on Feepay recently. It looked faded from the online pics which first got my attention and maybe as to why no one else was bidding. I was working on the assumption that the black backing had been removed or that is hadn’t been painted/varnished black in the first place.

Framed half plate ambrotype

I removed it from its frame, sadly no hidden identifiers to who the sitters are or where/when the plate was made. It looks quite early to me.

A quick clean of the cover glass and digitised on some black velveteen to see the image at its best before returning it to its frame, I’m unsure its the original as its a little unusual.

Ambrotype out of its frame

What was surprising to me was that there was an original backing after all. It had just faded over years of overexposure to daylight. This has left behind a ghostly image of the original in the felt/paper backing.

Faded Backing

This reminded me that I had taken this pic at the V&A’s Known and Strange exhibition a couple of weeks ago.

Of all the wonderful photographic works on display this was one of the ones that held my interest the most. At first I thought it was some sort of cyanotype photogram by Tom Lovelace but it turns out its actually a found natural photogram, a camera less object that had been created unintentionally in the window of a library, in Hackney, East London. With the passage of time, notices that had been pinned to this green felt board had partly faded, revealing different shapes of varying colour and shade. Love it and totally threw my usual casual viewing of the large collections at the V&A. I went back to it several times that day.

Tom Lovelace

Tom Lovelace No.03 from the series Forms in Green, Hackney 2011 Museum no. E.3362-2018