Hand tinting


Most photo studios selling souvenir walking picture portraits offered reprints, enlargements and hand coloured prints.  The latter are not very common, the thought is that as walkies were often taken and sold on the day, most people did not have the time to wait for a hand tinted version. When they did, the work was often undertaken by women workers, and was a real talent.  The end results often look excellent, even if they seem quite dated now compared to colour photography. There are some rare examples in the book Go Home On A Postcard.

Apart from walkies, many studios did high-end colouring portrait work, some of which show a real degree of skill. I have been picking up some examples and show quite a lot on this site. Most can be found by searching “Tinted by hand” on the site or using the links below.  I’d love to see any more examples people might have. You could buy a hint-tinting kit to use at home, and these produce some very strange results in less skilled hands!

https://gohomeonapostcard.wordpress.com/2014/08/03/tinted-by-hand/https://gohomeonapostcard.wordpress.com/2018/02/02/tinted-by-hand-2/ – https://gohomeonapostcard.wordpress.com/2018/05/04/tinted-by-hand-3/ – https://gohomeonapostcard.wordpress.com/2018/05/11/tinted-by-hand-4/ – https://gohomeonapostcard.wordpress.com/2018/11/30/tinted-by-hand-5/ – https://gohomeonapostcard.wordpress.com/2019/06/14/tinted-by-hand-%E2%80%A2-6/https://gohomeonapostcard.wordpress.com/2019/04/12/hand-tinted/

There are three examples on this page, the first is a typical family photo of a small child.

Yellow shorts-Tinted-005

Below is a strange example, another child, seemingly dressed as an old lady for a country fair, and looking very perplexed by it all.

The third is a high street postcard studio postcard of someone’s pet dog “Rex”, whose owner took him into a branch of Jerome’s to have his picture taken back in 1933. Obviously the hand-tinting here was a much less complex process, but it’s not easy to add coloured paint in such a subtle way.

"Rex"  Taken by Jerome Studio, 1933. Location not known.

“Rex” Taken by Jerome Studio, 1933. Location not known.

Earlier, many commercial postcard firms sold their own hand coloured photographs, often of famous actresses or elaborate fantasy scenes, but these are not one offs and beyond the scope of this site.