|Carbon (pigment) print, 1890s|
Numbered with Sutcliffe's initials at lower left in the negative (106 FMS).
Sutcliffe photographed the island of Whitby, a seaside town and port in North Yorkshire, extensively during his long career. He took numerous portraits of its inhabitants, workers, ports and boats. In this particular image, on the end of one of the buildings in the center of the photograph is painted "The Whitby Jet Works--Wm. Wright --Proprietor". While fishing and tourism were the major contributors to Whitby's economy, jet also added a source of income. The black mineraloid, a semi-precious relative of hard coal, was mined locally. Articles made from jet were popular in the Victorian era, and the Queen often wore Whitby jet jewelry as part of her extensive mourning attire.
See "Frank Meadow Sutcliffe, Photographer" Compiled by Bill Eglon Shaw, (ISBN 0 9501375 0 0) p. 28.
Sutcliffe printed many of his images using carbon, kallitype, VanDyke, or toned gelatin silver processes. Because all of these processes can render similar chocolate- to rust-brown tones, process can be difficult to differentiate (See our item 24.2). Sotheby's, Christie's, and other auction houses that have infrequently offered versions of this print since 1997 have all labeled them as carbon prints.