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Early Denver Carte de Visite—“After 600 miles in the saddle”

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455.     [PHOTOGRAPHY]. CHAMBERLAIN, William G. (photographer). Studio portrait of James B. Thompson and S.M. Sanders (identified as such on verso in contemporary pencil and dated 1870). Carte de visite (albumen print mounted on Chamberlain’s cardstock), printed on verso in purple and gold: Denver Photographic Rooms, Graham’s Block, Larimer St. W.G. Chamberlain…Mountain Views, Plain and Stereoscopic…; below image in contemporary pencil: “After 600 miles in the saddle.” Image: 9.6 x 5.8 cm; card: 10 x 6.2 cm. Denver, [ca. 1870]. Small crease at upper left corner, otherwise very fine.

     This manly image shows Thompson, standing on the left, dressed in high boots, hat, pants, big floppy bow tie, and duster, with a knife in a sheath on his belt. Sanders, sitting in a chair and looking somewhat the worse for wear, is dressed in lace-up shoes, pants, vest, coat, and hat. Thompson amiably rests his left hand on Sanders’ right shoulder. The view was obviously posed in the photographer’s studio, adorned with a floral patterned rug.

     Thompson was chief Ute Indian agent in 1870 and subsequently Colorado’s territorial auditor (1870-1874). Sanders ran a livery and feed stable in Colorado Springs, Colorado Territory. Photographer Chamberlain (b. 1815) was Colorado’s most important nineteenth-century photographer at the time. After practicing his craft in Peru, the California Gold Regions, and Chicago, he moved to Denver in 1861, where he remained until 1889. At the time of this photograph, his studio was located on Larimer and the northwest corner of 15th Street. During the last several years of his career, he worked with William Henry Jackson. Chamberlain was a prolific documenter of the area’s mines. See Item 169 herein for Chamberlain’s signed copy of the 1866 Denver directory, which includes his advertisement.



Auction 22 Abstracts

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