Picture Post

Art Finished In Penmaenmawr

180718.05

This delightful print, which I suspect dates back to the 1870s, came into my hands for a few pence via an eBay job lot of old photographs. It is the work of Blas Rangel, an early studio photographer who was born in Singapore in 1840 and was active in several towns in Britain in the 1860s and 1870s. Like so many of the early pioneer photographers, he kept changing locations – driven onwards by a combination of forever seeking new markets and escaping from bad debt and bankruptcy. When this spectacularly beautiful albumen print was made, he had a studio in the small town of Penmaenmawr, on the North Wales coast. The “art finishing” refers to the retouching that was a feature of these early photographs: in this case the slight emphasis given to the eyebrows and the nose.

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