tinted by hand

Sunny-Snaps-1937

My thanks to Andrew Gordon for sending this unusual Sunny Snaps card in.  I know it’s not a walkie, but the overall result with the colouring is so attractive I had to post it here.  Colour photography had been developed but not for the mass market, so many seaside photography firms offered a colouring service at an extra charge. I’ve seen so few examples that I assume not many people went for the option. After all, the whole idea of such prints was that they were purchased (often on the same day they were taken) as souvenirs.  Having to spend more and wait longer went against this concept.  Most professionally hand coloured photos you see are more formal portraits, often weddings, and larger prints, where the extra expense was felt more justifiable.

There was of course an alternative, DIY.  Firms offered sets of coloured paints which were formulated to work on photographic surfaces. These were oil based (normal water-colours wouldn’t dry properly) and applied using ordinary fine brushes.  The results depended on the skill of the user!  Here it appears one of the children in the photo was allowed to have a go, and they’ve not done too badly. As there is some evidence of paint drying in patches, they might not have had access to a proper set of hand tinting paint, but the overall result is very evocative.  The usual Sunny Snaps type panel gives the date 1937, and Andrew says it was taken at at Elmer Sands in West Sussex (which is close to Bognor Regis.) It shows Mrs. Margaret Gordon, Mrs. Galder and Mrs. Nelson-Wright with their children. You can read more about Sunny Snaps on the site.

hand tinting set

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