Untitled Portrait by A.C. McIntyre
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Albumen print mounted to carte de visite
Annotated "Travelling Dispensary, Thermometer 20 degrees below zero" in ink, with studio stamp: A.C. McIntyre Photographer, Brockville, CW, in ink, au verso
Printed circa 1885
Alexander Carson McIntyre (1822-1897) was a regionally renowned photographer working in the latter part of the 19th century in the Thousand Islands, a picturesque archipelago in the St. Lawrence River, along the border between the province of Ontario and the state of New York. McIntyre established his reputation as a prolific producer of 3D “stereoviews” and “cartes-de-visite”, a type of inexpensive, novelty portrait that was fashionable at the time.
Thanks to regional records it’s possible to establish much about McIntyre’s career. He maintained studios on both sides of the border and generated much of his business through his savvy instinct for advertising both his photographic services as well as the pleasures of the region as a tourist destination, including mentioning transportation routes and schedules for trains and steamers, and recommendations for hotels and local attractions.
This listing presents a carte-de-visite, or cabinet card, a wildly popular type of keepsake photograph that shared the standard size of formal visiting cards of the mid-19th century. Typical subject matter could include studio portraits, scenic views, tourist attractions, celebrities, and famous works of art. Highly collectible, these cards were usually kept in specially dedicated albums.
This particular carte-de-visite depicts a man dressed for cold weather, even though he is obviously standing in front of a studio backdrop. He is described as a Travelling Dispensary, a type of medical professional who would have had an itinerant practice – a sort of precursor to today’s General Practitioner. The novelty of the subject matter would have appealed to tourists visiting the Thousand Islands area from more cosmopolitan places like Montreal or New York City.
The second image shows the verso view of this item, including the handwritten annotation and studio stamp.
Mr. and Mrs. McIntyre - Thousand Island Life, October 2013A.C. McIntyre - First Photographer of the Thousand Islands - Thousand Island Life, June 2011