II-149661 | Bedroom, Mrs. Hope's house, Montreal, QC, 1904
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)
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.
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.
Photographs were everywhere in middle-class homes: in living rooms, studies and the most private spaces.
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.
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.