Ross and Thomson
Scottish, active 1848 - 1864
James Ross
Scottish, c.1814 - 1878
John Thomson
Scottish, c.1808-1881

A Happy Dream, 1862-1863
Albumen print
Purchase, Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Fund
Period: 18th c
Classification: Photograph
Dimensions: Image: 7 7/8 x 6 in. (20 x 15.24 cm) Mount: 12 3/4 x 10 1/2 in. (32.39 x 26.67 cm) Sheet: 12 3/4 x 10 1/2 in. (32.39 x 26.67 cm)
Signatures, Inscriptions and Markings v
Inscribed (recto, on mount at bottom center, in pencil): A Happy Dream; (verso, at LLC, in pencil): 300437.0527; (ULC, in pencil): JT082
Published References v
Lombino, Mary-Kay, "Shape of Light: Defining Photographs from the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, September 20 - December 15, 2019," (Poughkeepsie, NY: Vassar College, Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center), 2019.
Exhibition History v
Poughkeepsie, New York, FLLAC, Vassar College, "Histories of Photography," July 5 - September 21, 2003
Description v
In the mid-nineteenth century, British art photographers imitated the work of academic painters through several methods: props, stock poses, painted backdrops, multiple exposures, and the manual reworking of both negative and print. All of these techniques are represented in this striking collabor- ative image. Early Edinburgh partners Ross and Thomson produced both daguerreotypes and calotypes (salted-paper prints from paper negatives), and were experimenting with albumen-based emulsions as early as 1849. James Ross operated a painting studio and might have painted the backdrop seen here, which, in a somewhat altered state, appears in genre-scene photo- graphs sold under his name in 1863. This fine example of allegorical staging and combination printing was shown at the 1863 exposition of the London Photographic Society.
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