X4539 | Unidentified young women

Unidentified young women
Joseph N. Durland
1857-1862, 19th century
Ambrotype mounted in brass
9.5 x 8.3 cm
This artefact belongs to: © New Brunswick Museum
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Keys to History

Given the economic and social stature of the city of Saint John in the 1860s, the ladies of wealthy families had access to the latest fashions and modes of dress. The current dress styles were reflected in the miniature wardrobe of the birthday doll, Lady Blanche Paulet, offered to Fanny Jack on her eighth birthday.

This double ambrotype shows two very fashionably dressed young women very typical of the early 1860s. In the image on the left, the young woman wears a horizontally striped silk dress made with separate bodice and skirt. The front-opening bodice has wide pagoda sleeves with short epaulettes that are trimmed with bands of velvet and silk fringe. White undersleeves and an embroidered collar accessorize the bodice. The skirt is heavily pleated into the waistband. In the image on the right, the young woman wears a jacket-style bodice of dark silk over a vertically striped skirt. The jacket has pagoda sleeves trimmed with velvet bands. Her hair is held up with a hairnet or snood, a popular accessory for young women during the 1860s. The ambrotypes are mounted in elaborately embossed oval mats and show some pink tinting in the cheeks and gold on the jewellery.

  • What

    An ambrotype is made using a small piece of glass to support the sensitized silver emulsion.

  • Where

    Durland's studio was located at 32 Germain Street, Saint John, New Brunswick.

  • When

    Most ambrotypes produced in New Brunswick were taken between 1857 and 1862.

  • Who

    Joseph N. Durland became a freeman of the city of Saint John, New Brunswick, in 1860. His occupation was listed as ambrotypist.