A fine nineteenth century example of a hand-painted head-and-shoulders opalotype portrait of an unidentified woman
The photograph is mounted behind an oval blood-red matt gilded on the bevelled edge (visible image size 365 x 260 mm); these are surmounted by a second matt with an attractively scalloped inner edge. It is behind glass in an impressive vintage wooden frame - almost certainly of huon pine, 80 mm wide - with a very ornate gilt fillet above the glass. The external dimensions are 680 x 555 mm; the visible surface of the glass is 490 x 360 mm. Opalotypes (also called opaltypes and 'milk glass positives') are photographs printed on sheets of opaque, translucent white glass. The process was patented in 1857, and although it survived until the 1920s, this portrait from the later nineteenth century would have to be considered a very fine example of its type. It is also a credit to both the artistry of the photographer and the craftsmanship of the picture-framer, neither of whom are identified. The item was purchased in Adelaide, so it is highly likely the subject, photographer and framer were local.