19th century photo signature identification

Discussion in 'Ephemera and Photographs' started by Breno, Jun 6, 2022.

  1. Breno

    Breno Member

    Hello!



    I'm trying to identify this signature for months, but I fail every time.

    Google says this woman can be Julian Eltinge, the drag queen... I don't think so haha poor women, just because of her thick eyebrows? What do you guys think?

    It doesn't seems like a common women, looks like an opera singer. I don't even know the country of origin. Because of the clothing and hairdo, I would date it from 1887.

    I think the signature is the way to find more infos, but It's so difficult to read. Can anybody help me, please?



    THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

    Screenshot_20220606-192040_WhatsApp.jpg
    Screenshot_20220606-192106_WhatsApp.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

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  2. Debora

    Debora Well-Known Member

    Despite what Google says, Julian Eltinge wasn't born until 1881. She appears to be framed. Have you opened the frame up to see if there's any information inside?

    Debora
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2022
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  3. Breno

    Breno Member

    Yes, Debora. But the fact is that I don't know if it's a 1880s photo, it's just a guess. Besides this, Eltinge played a lot of historical characters. The frame is very noveau. I bought this from an auction, it seemes that somebody already looked inside the frame, so I didn't, but I'm gonna try now. What about the signature? What do you read?
     
  4. Debora

    Debora Well-Known Member

    The only thing I can read with clarity is "Witcomb." May be the individual who colored the photograph.

    Debora
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2022
  5. Debora

    Debora Well-Known Member

    Not an expert but... Think that hair style may be just a tad later. 1890s.

    Debora
     
  6. Figtree3

    Figtree3 What would you do if you weren't afraid?

    I believe the first line says "Witcomb Foto." The second word appears to be the abbreviation of the Spanish word for photographer. So the first line identifies the photographer. There was a famous photographer in Argentina whose last name was Witcomb, I have just discovered.
    https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alejandro_Witcomb

    Your photo appears to be of a high quality. It is possible that the second line of the imprint identifies a location of his studio, either a street name or town.

    There could be other photographers named Witcomb, but investigating Alejandro first would be a good place to begin, I think.
     
  7. Debora

    Debora Well-Known Member

    That's an interesting idea. Let's see what we can find.

    Debora
     
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  8. Debora

    Debora Well-Known Member

    In 1888, he set up his photography studio in Buenos Aires. It was named Galeria Witcomb and was located on C/ Florida 364.

    Samples of his work:

    Debora

    Unknown.jpg
     
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  9. Debora

    Debora Well-Known Member

    Period ads.

    Debora

    J2QYPBTM3NHSBGWF3JHMWHDIPQ.jpg
     
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  10. Breno

    Breno Member

    THANK YOU VERY MUCH! I THINK WE DEFINITELY HAVE AN ANSWER FOR THE SIGNATURE. I bought this piece at Rio de Janeiro, so this makes a lot of sense. I was searching for "witcomb photography/photographer/photo" and didn't find nothing, that's because he is spanic.
     
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  11. Breno

    Breno Member

    Thank you very, very much, Debora! I don't have words to express how greateful I am. Is definitely him. I bought this photo in Rio de Janeiro. And look, it seems that I was right about the date, 1880's. THANK YOU ❤
     
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  12. Figtree3

    Figtree3 What would you do if you weren't afraid?

    Turns out he was British, but went to Argentina and established the first studio there..
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Witcomb

    I was watching something on TV when I posted the previous message and didn't have time to look further. I also found out that he had a son of the same name who took over his business.
     
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  13. Figtree3

    Figtree3 What would you do if you weren't afraid?

    That was a great find for you!

    And I knew Debora would be able to find some good information. :)
     
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  14. Breno

    Breno Member

    We definitely have an answer for the signature. Now I can almost sleep in peace, because remains to know who she is. It may sounds crazy but in a very similar case I discovered who was the model. She is not a common womam, she seems like an opera singer, a diva, an artist. Let's see what I find about argentinian famous women.
     
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  15. Breno

    Breno Member

    A friend of mine, an especialist, told the hair is definitely 1887's haha I can't deny hahaha
     
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  16. Breno

    Breno Member

    Definitely a great find. Don't know if you can read this, but according to the National Museum of Fibe Arts of Argentina:

    "Mientras los investigadores no aporten nuevas pruebas, podemos afirmar que el ESTUDIO WITCOMB fue el primero y gran establecimiento de producción de fotografías de la Argentina."
     
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  17. LauraGarnet02

    LauraGarnet02 Well-Known Member

    It could be one of the depth perception problems I have with digital photos sometimes, but it looks to me like this photo is printed on opaque white glass. If that's truly what I'm seeing, Opalotype also spelled Opaltype it's what it would be called. (Sorry I just had to ask. If it's a regular photo on paper just ignore me, I'm seeing things that aren't there.)

    You would probably have better luck identifying the lady with image search if you took a straight on shot with your camera, instead of tilted at an angle as the picture you have posted here.

    That lady has nice jewelry and clothing.
     
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  18. Breno

    Breno Member

    Oh, Laura! Thank you!! Very well observed. When I bought it, the description told the support of the photograph was "marfinite", a kind of fake ivory sheet, don't know the translation in English for this. But your guess makes more sense! For sure. I think it's exactly an opaltype, that's the why I never opened the frame!! I'm very afraid to break the photo while taking off or putting the nails. So I've never touched it, can't tell you how does it feels like, but it seems like glass. About the angle of the pucture, I tried others with Google, this one here us just to avoid glass reflection. Thanks for the tips!
     
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  19. Breno

    Breno Member

    In fact, I was looking for "WitRRRRRomb"! That's the why I didn't find Alejandro
     
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  20. Breno

    Breno Member

    Thank you very much. I was reading about it and it is definitely an Opalotype. 50cm x50cm, kind of 19,5inch x 19,5inch. Wonderful discoveries! Thank you very much.
     
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