II-41409.1 | Philip S. Ross and family, Montreal, QC, composite, 1876

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Philip S. Ross and family, Montreal, QC, composite, 1876
Notman & Sandham
1876, 19th century
Silver salts on paper mounted on paper - Albumen process
17.8 x 12.7 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Art (2774) , composite (312) , Photograph (77678)
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Keys to History

We begin the tour by visiting the family of Phillip S. Ross of Montreal in 1876. Family members are deliberately positioned in an everyday scene by photographer William Notman. By combining photographic techniques with painterly traditions, Notman and his artistic staff make family portraits come to life. This composite combines a number of studio-posed photographs on a single background canvas. Given such artistic licence, the
"parlour" shown here has all of the popular features of the day. The centrepiece is the heavily laden table under the suspended light. The mantel holds a central clock with a statuette, glass-covered objects and miniature screens. The carpet is busy and the walls are energetically appointed. No one is idle - the daughter plays music, the sons read books and the youngest girls play with toys. The domestic roles of family members are well-defined. Leisure time is filled with activity.

Source : Crowding the Parlour [Web tour], by Jane Cook, McGill University (see Links)

  • What

    This is a composite photograph of family members engaged in leisure activities such as playing music and reading.

  • Where

    The family is pictured in an artistic rendition of a generic parlour setting representing their Montreal home.

  • When

    The composite photograph was completed in 1876. The decorative arts and furnishings depicted were stylish after the mid-19th century.

  • Who

    This is the Phillip S. Ross family with its eight children. The art department of photographer William Notman painted the background scene.