Traugott Richard was an early photographer active in the 1860's and 1870's. He produced photographs on carte-de-visites, cabinet cards, stereographs and albumen prints. His subjects were ethnographic, usually a young Swiss woman wearing a regional costume. What set Traugott Richard apart from other photographers of this era was the extreme depth of detail in the photographs and the very fine, exquisite hand coloring that was applied to his albumen prints.
The 1870's were the height of the cabinet/tinted collection wave. Traugott Richard produced a collection titled "Costumes, Suisses". The photographer used painted backgrounds that reflected a country village scene. Sometimes these scenes were fitted with fences, country gates, trellises, windows with wooden shutters, shrines, holy water fonts or water fountains. Plants, ferns, grasses, flowers, rocks and even running water were often added to enhance realism. The young women wore ornate regional dresses. They appeared with fine details, such as, elaborate hairstyles, ribbon bows, bonnets, hats, hair combs, gloves, broaches, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets. They were posed holding a scythe, a wooden rake, a fish net, a book, or a milk pail or seated at a table or a loom in order to convey purpose or action. The rest of the scene was filled with lavish studio accessories, such as, vases, baskets, corn, eggs, blueberries, potatoes, wineglasses & decanters, and prayer books. These provided an accurate portrayal of an ideal Swiss county scene. The fine hand coloring that was applied to each photograph brought each to life.
Traugott Richard photographs are generally identified as T. Richard. Later in life he went by T. Richard & Sohn. His studio was active in Maenedorf, in the Canton of Zurich, Switzerland. One collection of early cabinet cards represented the following 19 provinces: Neuchatel, Unterwalden, St. Gall, Soleure, Geneve, Zuric, Bale, Berne, Tessin, Glaris, Appenzell, Frybourg, Uri, Zoug, Schwyz, Vaud, Thourgovie, Grisons, Valais. One numbered series of later cdvs represented at least 21 photographs including: Bern-Ville, Luzern, and Neuenburg.
Copyright: James A. Marusek, 2002
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