This lovely wedding portrait by the Robert C. Mumbrauer studio, Hermann, Missouri, came to me through AdoptAPhoto, a site and service, created by Anne White in 2001, that enables people to post photographs that have become separated from families, in hopes that others will find and claim them. It’s a necessary stop for anyone looking for family photographs.
The subdued black card mount and restrained, blind-embossed studio identification mark this photograph as circa 1900 or after.
Following fashion historian Joan Severa’s guidelines, the details that date the bride’s shirtwaist-style gown are the “caplet” on the sleeve shoulder, combined with the “over-puffed front” of the blouse that droops beneath the waistline (Severa, Dressed for the Photographer, 539).
The bride’s headpiece features whimsical trailing artificial rosebuds; the groom’s jacket sports a matching spray. His creased pants also are a sign of ca. 1900 fashion, an era when the trouser press came into widespread use.
But what truly strikes the viewer in this portrait is the solemn gaze of the bride and groom, who, hand in hand, face the camera as if repeating their vows. For a moment, the studio, with its shabby props and painted backdrops, becomes a chapel.