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Family photos / McKay / Bowler hats and other props

Among the many unlabeled family photographs I have, this one stands out. It is the only tintype (not a film based print, rather a sheet of metal), and as such may date to the 1860’s. However the process was used until the 20th century, so that in itself does not place it in time. It was among many other film photographs of the McKay side of my family (via my grandmother on my father’s side), and it may be an image of one of the three older brothers of my grandmother (Hannah McKay). They would have been 5 years old in 1879,1880, and 1882 respectively.

Whoever the poor kid is, I wonder about posing him as a miniature gentleman. Certainly I would expect the Sunday best clothes, but I rather doubt those would come complete with a Bowler hat (on the pedestal beside him).  The process of photography was so new, however, that I’m sure the portrait sitting (standing?) itself was quite the event. Perhaps that was reflected in the formal attire.

Or the kid had nothing else to wear.


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