Historical information

The tintype (or ferrotype or Melainotype) was produced on metallic sheet (not, actually, tin) instead of glass. The plate was coated with collodion and sensitized just before use. It was introduced by Adolphe Alexandre Martin in 1853. The most common size was about the same as the carte-de-visite, 5.5cm x 9.0cm, but both larger and smaller ferrotypes were made. The smallest were "Little Gem" tintypes, about the size of a postage-stamp, made simultaneously on a single plate in a camera with 12 or 16 lenses. They were often produced by travelling photographers, and were cheaper than Ambrotypes so made photography available to working classes, not just to the more well-to-do. The print would come out laterally reversed (as one sees oneself in a mirror). Being quite rugged, tintypes could be sent by post. Tintypes were eventually superseded by gelatin emulsion dry plates in the 1880s, though street photographers in various parts of the world continued with this process until the 1950s. (Above information abridged from http://www.rleggat.com/photohistory/history/tintype.htm) The firm of Gove and Allen opened in Sydney in 1880 and were responsible for the belated popularizing of the gem tintype in Australia. The firm traded as both The American Gem Studio and The American Studio. Others franchises were opened in Melbourne, 6 Sturt St Ballarat and Sandhurst (Bendigo). The Sandhurst branch closed in 1882 and Adelaide in 1884. All Gove and Allen studios had ceased trading by 1885. The studio addresses were: 23 King William St, Adelaide; 324 George St, Sydney; 95 Swanston St, Melbourne; Howard Place, Sandhurst; 7 Queen St, Brisbane; The card mounts used in Gove and Allen studios in Australia are identical to those used in America. They were initially made of plain white card with embossing around the oval image opening in the mount while some also had simple geometric and floral printed designs as well. Although Gove and Allen studios produced the majority of gem tintypes in Australia, other studios offered them including: - London, American & Sydney Photo Company, 328 George St, Sydney; - David Edelsten, 55 & 57 Bourke St, Melbourne; - Burman's Portrait Rooms, St. George's Hall, 209 Bourke St, Melbourne; - Bell's Gem Portrait Studio, 57 Bourke St East, Melbourne; - R. H. Kenny, Bridge St, Ballarat; - Marinus W. Bent, Sandhurst (Bendigo); - George Fisher, Victoria; - Anson Brothers, Hobart Town. (Abridged information from http://members.ozemail.com.au/~msafier/photos/tintypes.html)

Physical description

A tintype portrait of a woman's head, attached to a card.

Inscriptions & markings

Printed on the lower edge of the card "Allen & Gove, American Studion, 6 Sturt St, Ballarat"