1/6th Plate Tintype of Ferrotype
2 3/8 Inches by 3 3/8 Inches
(6.1cm x 8.7cm)
Unknown Photographer
Unknown Location - Possibly Canada
c. 1890s
...of Canadian origin is based on the frequency that this type of image was produced in various parts of the British Empire.
A stated elsewhere in this website, tintypes never achieved a level of popularity in Britain than come anywhere near what
the process gained in North America. While British tintypes might even be considered rare they are one of the most
common photographic types from the mid-19th Century North America (Canada and the U.S.) encountered in the collector's
market. This couple with the fact that this specific image was found in upstate New York lends to the possibility of it having
originated in Canada. Given this it is possible that the image originated in New York but laking a photographer's name that
will probably always remain a mystery.

Looking at the image itself it is clear that this man appears to be wearing his medals on his right breast in much the same
manned as was common with non-military award such as life saving medals. This is actually not the case and his medals are
in fact being worn on his left breast as specified by army regulations. This seeming inconsistency is actually the result of
the technical process used in the production of these types of images. Tintypes did not make use of a negative as other
processes did but produced the image directly on a sensitized metal plate inside the camera resulting in an image that is
"flipped" or 'mirrored". This specific image is shown below reversed to allow for a correct view if this former soldier.
Looking at this man's medals there are several possibilities  as to which campaign he may have taken part in. The center
most and earliest medal with the ornate suspender looks to be either an India General Service Medal (1854 or 1895) or the
1877-79 South Africa Medal. It is impossible to tell which and the medal planchetes or indistinct and the ribbons colors can
not be made out. Another of the strange idiosyncrasies of some 19th Century photographic processes that medal ribbons
that were actually light can appear very dark and dark ribbons light. The second medal with the straight bar suspender and
no clasps could be for instance a number of different medals but many of these can be ruled out since they were not issued
with at least one clasp. While the Egypt Medal (1882-89) was issued without clasps the fact that this old soldier is not
wearing the Egyptian Khedive's Star would probably rule this medal out. This seems to leave two possibilities for the
second medal - either the Ashantee Medal (1874) or the North West Canada Medal (1885).

Logically the most likely combination would be the Ashantee Medal and the 1877-79 South Africa Medal since would place
all of his service on the African continent. The romantic in me woudl like to think of this man wearing the 1877-79 South
Africa Medal for service during the Anglo-Zulu War and then having returned to Canada and seeing action during Reil's
Rebellion in 1885.

One other detail is very evident in this photograph which may or may not be linked to his days on campaign with that being
the very large and promanent  scar that runs across this man's right cheek. The scar like such much else in the photograph
will probably always remain a mystery.
Left: a detail of the above
photograph showing this veteran's
medals and the large scar that
crosses his right cheek.