British photographic history

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I recently purchased this stereoview, apparently made in the UK. It looks to be 1850s- early 1860s. I believe this may be a portrait of he great P. T. Barnum,  There is no written information on it. I do know that Barnum regularly travelled to England during his career. perhaps he meant this as a kind of advertising. His jaunty stance seems in keeping with other photos of Barnum.

Does any member have a resourse that mentions or confirms a portrait stereoview of Barnum? Who may be the photographer? What event may have this been?

Or, is this just wishful thinking on my part? Any thoughts?

Included, photos of the stereoview, and crop of the famous Daguerreotype with General Tom Thumb, for reference.


Many thanks, David

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Comment by Robert Shanebrook on February 19, 2018 at 21:56

I offer some information not specifically relevant to your  photograph .   PTB traveled  with Gen. TT  on the Yorkshire to Liverpool  on  January 18, 1844.  My  reference is "Life of P. T. Barnum"  by P.T. Barnum 1855.  I own the  1st edition. 

I  read it some time ago.  I looked through it today specifically looking for mention of a photographic portrait being made.    There is a  significant  discussion of his  work  with Gen, TT but  no  mention of  the famous  portrait  or any other photograph. 

Robert Shanebrook   

Comment by David McGreevy on February 19, 2018 at 14:04

Thanks so much for this information, Peter.


Comment by Peter Klein on February 19, 2018 at 13:19

Hi David,

As Steven has shown, there is absolutely no doubt that this stereo is of Phineas Barnum, but where it was taken is less certain.  Exploring the Connecticut Digital Archive you will find another stereo of Barnum, with a closely similar mount, this time showing him with General Tom Thumb "in his 20th Year".  As Charles Stratton was born in early January 1838, this puts the stereo as probably being taken during 1857, which looks about right.  In this second stereo, Barnum is shown leaning against the same pillar in the same studio, so plausibly both were taken at around the same time.  Yet another portrait, a carte-de-visite, shows Barnum a year or two later in a very similar pose, and this was taken by Silsbee Case & Co. in Boston.

Best regards, PK

Comment by David McGreevy on February 13, 2018 at 12:47

Thanks, Steven!

Comment by Steven Evans on February 13, 2018 at 12:46

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