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While redecorating for Christmas, my husband and I discovered some extremely old photos in the back of the dresser we were given by a friend. The dresser is very old and beautiful; we gauged it at probably 70 or 80 years old, but now we think it may be more like 100-150 years old.


The photographs are of an infant and a young child--maybe the same child 5-10 years later--in some kind of period finery. After being amazed for a day or so, I took the photos to the Georgia State University library's archivist for a little help dating them.



The first photo, the baby, is actually a tintype. Tintypes were popular between 1858-1890, but some people still used them as late as the 1910s. I still need to do more research to determine the actual age of the image based on the clothing of the child here and in the second image.



The second photo is called a cartes de visite, which was often taken in a series of eight images. When I look at this series, I do think some are missing. This might explain that. However, that means the images are probably between 1850-1900.

What this tells me is that the dresser is closer to 150 years old than 80 years old. AND WE GOT IT FOR FREE. I intend to find out any information our friend--who graciously gave it to us--has on it. We've moved it into the downstairs hallway, the entrance way basically, to help add to the feeling of age in our home.

Between the dresser, the photos, the sconces, the dining table, my book collection, and the actual house, our space is really starting to feel like layers and layers of history. I just can't believe it. I always wanted to be a part of a narrative that spans beyond the 20th century, and now I feel like I'm on my way.

X-posted to atlanta_living

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
misshawklet
Dec. 9th, 2009 01:26 am (UTC)
wow, amazing!
sarainc
Dec. 9th, 2009 03:57 am (UTC)
cool!!
soylentpurple
Dec. 9th, 2009 04:44 am (UTC)
That's an absolutely beautiful dresser. This might also aid in dating the dresser:

http://www.efi-costarica.com/furniture-handles.html

I couldn't tell from the picture if the handles are wood or brass, but the shape is a clue.

What a find on the photos, too!

Do keep us updated as you find more information about your treasure!
chocolat_delux
Dec. 9th, 2009 05:30 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for the link! The handles seem to fit more with the oval and circular pressings in image 9--suggesting that that dresser might pre-date the photos in it by another 50 or more years! I'm going to keep looking. I have a book, Elements of Style, that include furniture and fittings from different time periods--hopefully I can determine if I'm accurate or not!
chocolat_delux
Dec. 9th, 2009 10:34 pm (UTC)
After doing some more research, I can determine--rather safely--that the dresser is a Sheraton-styled dresser...maybe even an original. It's popularity ranged between 1750-1800. This narrative keeps getting better.
emianne
Dec. 12th, 2009 04:29 am (UTC)
Something my dad, who is a finish carpenter, always looks for is the back of the dresser. If it is stapled on, or phillips screws have been used, it's not an antique. If the boards on the back are wide and of uneven width it's more likely that it's an antique.

Those decorative pieces on the front would also be hand-carved if they were originals from the 1800's. If they're hand carved, you'll see slight inconsistencies in the carving.

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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