Judging from last week’s self-portrait of John Capewell and this week’s shot of his mother-in-law, it looks as if this portion of the house was a popular spot to read. The rays of the sun proved to be perfect for illuminating fine type and absolutely perfect for capturing an image on photographic emulsion.
At first I assumed that last week’s and this week’s shots were taken at the same time in succession, but the room and the chair are different. There’s quite a bit less clutter in this shot as opposed to last, and the lady is seated in the wicker chair that featured in Capewell’s photograph of one of his sons.
Many interesting details show up in this one such as the wallpaper to the patterned rug. There’s a dog at the lady’s feet. It looks like there is a room beyond this with a runner on the floor which leads to what may be the back porch.
I don’t know what book the lady is reading, but it’s a thick one.
If you are a regular reader of these posts and have a really sharp eye, you may noticed a familiar photographic portrait hanging on the wall in the upper right of the photograph.
I have to admit that I didn’t see it until my wife pointed it out. Recognize it? It looks to be the family shot of Capewell along with his brothers, sisters and parents!
The Capewell Glass Negative Collection is a series of about 200 5-inch by 7-inch glass negatives shot early in the 20th Century by John Batt Capewell (1878-1951) of Westville, New Jersey. John passed the negatives down to his son Henry who left them in his wife’s possession upon his passing. Henry’s widow didn’t know what to do with them and didn’t particularly want them so she offered them to my Dad who couldn’t turn down anything. Ultimately I wound up with them and thought I would one day have photographic prints struck from them. That didn’t happen, but I came up with the digital workaround of placing the negatives on a lightbox and rephotographing them with a digital camera. The “processing” was then done on a computer with image editing software. They came out better than I thought they would so I thought I would show them off to the world on this site. Many of these pictures have not been seen in a century, and I’m proud to be presenting them today.
At first, I did not know who the people were in the photographs. I have a box of ephemera that accompanied the negatives and snagged a few clues from that as far as the Capewell name. I did some research on the internet and had a few false starts and wrong turns, but the readers of these posts have provided a remarkable amount of research and detail. I’m amazed at what people have turned up sifting through public records and such!
Last Week: Read Any Good Books Lately?