Tinted by hand • 6
This pair of hand tinted postcards I found recently are credited to a Redcar photographer, A. Cattani. It’s hard to believe they were taken by a professional studio. Albert Cattani does register on a web search. He was born in 1862 in Genoa, Italy (one census says Hungary but may be an error), before his family emigrated to Sweden. Albert moved to London and then for a time to Leeds, working in the Music Halls with a gymnastic act alongside his brother up to 1901. His daughter Kathleen was the first of his eight children to be born in Redcar in 1902, so we assume they moved there not long before. We know by 1907 he was working in the town as a photographer as a couple of postcards carrying his credit showing a funeral service in 1907 survive (while one of these tinted cards has been posted by ‘Lewis’ to his mother and father in Dewsbury in 1907).
In 1911 Cattani was listed as a photographer living and working at 27 Station Road, Redcar, one of the main shopping streets in the town. Albert Cattani died in 1913 and we don’t know what happened to his family.
Both the tinted photos feature the same crudely decorated wooden frame, behind which the people were posed outdoors (probably in the shop’s back yard) against painted studio backdrops. I assume the photographer had a few of these painted scenes so people could choose their preferred backdrop. Both postcard prints have then been very badly hand-tinted (I assume by one of the kids!), the colours having eaten into the surface emulsion in some places. The little boy in the Dick Whittington outfit is the same child in the other card.
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