Full Cased 1/6th Plate Tintype
Unknown Photographer
Western United States
c. 1870s

Housed in its original leather case, this 1/6th plate tintype depicts what may have been an old cowhand who may seen one too many winters on the trail. Perhaps he had "retired" from
the saddle to a seat on the chuck wagon since he could easily fill the bill as the cook on a cattle drive someplace in Kansas or Texas, Either way he could be the old cowhand that Robert
Duvall's character Boss Spearman describes in the 2003 film
Open Range as having suffered too many broke knuckles and longing for a place that was dry in the winter and cool in the
summer with maybe a few dancing girls thrown in for fun too.
Above: The tintype as scanned after removal from its case during cleaning and conservation. The photographic plate itself was carefully dusted and
the cover glass cleaned with alcohol. When cased tintypes are temporarily separated from their brass mats, preservers and cover glass quite often
interesting details which have remained hidden for well over a hundred years are revealed. In this case details of his hat reveal that it was once of
the more expensive styles with the sewn ribbon banding on the brim's edge. In this photo that ribbon banding is now revealed to be quite tattered and
torn indicating long and hard wear. This detail adds immeasurably to the images character. The sitter wears what appears to be a cotton pull over
shirt with a two button placket and simple band collar. His vest is sans lapels and is of a plaid fabric giving his otherwise plain attire just a bit of color.