A Neoclassical Mystery

DSCN1332-detI have here a mystery that I’m hoping won’t remain a mystery for long. John Capewell thought enough of this to shoot a glass negative, but sadly, I don’t know what it is.

It looks like a horse trough. You can still find some old ones in the streets of Philadelphia, but this is a wooded area.

The Capewells resided in Westville, New Jersey, but I don’t think it’s Westville or New Jersey. Jerseyman, the expert in all things New Jersey who has been very gracious sharing his encyclopedic knowledge with this humble site, doubts that this was in the Garden State. So I am putting it to you, dear readers! If you know what and where this edifice is, please comment below!


About The Capewell Glass Negative Collection

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: The Return of the Peculiar Trio


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4 Responses to A Neoclassical Mystery

  1. Michele Helton says:

    Thank you for sharing these wonderful pictures.I look forward to Thursdays to see what will be next!

  2. Joe_Williams says:

    Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting.

    Meanwhile, over on Facebook, there are a few suggestions that this may be in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park.

  3. Old NFO says:

    Not a clue Joe… Course I’m a Southern boy… 🙂

  4. Tina says:

    Jim – Stay tuned for a special follow up post tomorrow!

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