II-149661 | Bedroom, Mrs. Hope's house, Montreal, QC, 1904

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Bedroom, Mrs. Hope's house, Montreal, QC, 1904
Wm. Notman & Son
1904, 20th century
Silver salts on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
20 x 25 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Architecture (8646) , Photograph (77678) , residential (1255)
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Keys to History

By the turn of the 20th century, it had long been a bourgeois habit to decorate domestic spaces with a variety of photographs. The pictures were mostly studio portraits displayed prominently for friends and relatives to view. Hanging on the wall or simply standing on a mantelpiece, the photographs, some of them elegantly framed, told the family history. These arrangements created a definitive portrait of the entire family, with the patriarch reigning over the succeeding generations. The portrait photography industry of the time profited from this desire for perpetuation.

  • What

    The use of photographs for home decoration is a social phenomenon that really took off with the industrialization of photography in the 1850s. Studio portraits became a photographer's bread and butter.

  • Where

    Photographs were everywhere in middle-class homes: in living rooms, studies and the most private spaces.

  • When

    Photography has the capability of preserving an image of moments long past, hence the immense success of photographic portraits, which ensure the subject an afterlife, however symbolic.

  • Who

    Mrs. Hope's bedroom is decorated with many photos of those near and dear to her, clearly demonstrating that emotional ties are one of the main reasons for keeping photographs.