Baltimore City Nineteenth-Century Photos  


Baltimore City Nineteenth-Century Photos

 Philip Benjamin Sadtler
Catherine Sauerwein Sadtler

Philip Benjamin Sadtler 1771-1860

Catherine Sauerwein Sadtler 1796-1843

Philip Benjamin Sadtler was born 16 June 1771 in Homburg Germany. He married Catherine Sauerwein in Baltimore on 8 December 1812 in Zion Lutheran Church. Catherine was born in Baltimore on 25 Jan 1796 and died 26 Nov 1843. Philip lived to old age, dying in Baltimore on 3 March 1860. He was a prominent silver maker whose work is now displayed in the Baltimore Museum of Art.

Cindy Bailey has submitted these very interesting pictures which demonstrate a couple of techniques that may be helpful in identifying your ancestors' images. First, these scans are made from a paper photocopy that is 25 years old. I am unable to edit them to any significant degree that makes them look better. Secondly, the photocopy, appears to have been made from black and white snap shots vintage 1940s or early 1950s. The originals, I suspect are not photographs at all but paintings.

Photographic copies of paintings is not new technique. When photography first became commercially available, reasonably priced and extremely popular, many photo studios were asked to create images from paintings in order to share among families, just as we do today with digital pictures on the web.

Some clues from the above photo, especially notable in the image of Catherine S. Sadtler, the portrait artist provided considerable detail to her facial features but depicted her hands in a rather primitive and unrealistic fashion. A camera could not create this appearance. Secondly, the clothing in these photos, especially Philip's ruffled shirt is reminiscent of a time-period before the availability of any photographic technique. The hairstyle of both Philip and his wife would also date these images earlier than 1839 when Daguerre first popularized photographic images. Lastly, we know that Catherine died in 1843. If she had a photographic image made, it would almost certainly have been a daguerreotype. What is seen here, even in its fourth-generation incarnation is definitely not a daguerreotype.

My best guess is that these beautiful portrait paintings were made shortly after the couple married in 1812 when he was about 40 and she much younger at about 18 or so. Perhaps, these pictures were a wedding gift from Philip to his new wife.

UPDATE!!  Please click here to see copies of the original oil paintings in color!

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