Sunday, May 6, 2012

Sentimental Sunday - Women with Hats - Gypsy Woman?

This wonderful, if not a bit worn, Carte de Visite, was taken by the famous photographer Napoleon Sarony who specialized in photographing actors and actresses.  This particular photograph appears to be at first glance a Gypsy woman, but after learning about the photographer I am more inclined to believe the unknown woman was an actress.  Sarony was born 9 Mar 1821 in Quebec, Canada and died 9 Nov 1896, New York City.  According to Paul Frecker he was "as colorful, eccentric and theatrical as his subjects.  A tiny man like his name sake, he enjoyed strutting around in hussar's uniform."

I had a little difficulty trying to date this photo.  According to most sources, he moved his studio from 680 Broadway to 37 Union Square in 1871, however the black background of the CDV tells me this photo would have to be dated at least around 1879.  According to the Classy Arts website the 1871 move date is probably incorrect.  I am going to therefore date this photo around 1879.

Napoleon Sarony, Nat'l Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian


  1. Whether actress or real gypsy, the detail of the clothing draws me in.

  2. This is Sarah Scott-Siddons, Actress.


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