I have a relatively large framed picture of a married couple:

enter image description here

It appears to be a black and white photo that has been colored by hand or maybe it is all hand drawn with mixed media. It almost looks like pastels on the blue background. Given their dress and the style, what is the likely date of this portrait? I'm thinking it is likely in the 1900s or 1910s. The portrait is framed with an orange velvet around the oval of the portrait, the oval measures 18 inches across and 12 inches tall. A full resolution version can be seen here. The purported male in the photo was married in 1889 and died in 1913, but perhaps it is his wife's second husband.

Note that while this is a digital image, it faithfully represents the underlying work. The digital editing just removed the orange velvet background surrounding the opening oval revealing the image.

  • I do not think that this is a photo, I think it is a painting.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Feb 27, 2017 at 0:26
  • 2
    I think it was painted from a photo, or perhaps directly over the top of one. If the latter, there's little if any original image discernible. Is the back of the picture accessible? Is there anything written there?
    – AndyW
    Commented Feb 27, 2017 at 9:02
  • 1
    Going along with the comment by @AndyW - do you have the original image? The texture and the way it is irregularly cut into an oval makes it have the look of an image that has been digitally doctored. While it may have been originally painted/coloured a century ago it would be useful to rule out if any changes may have been made since that time or since scanning. Some people perform entirely digital colourizations of old photos, which can be misleading if you do not know there is an original uncoloured version.
    – Harry V.
    Commented Feb 27, 2017 at 20:32
  • 1
    @HarryVervet Question updated to clarify the image is not doctored, other than to remove the orange velvet around the oval edge.
    – WilliamKF
    Commented Feb 28, 2017 at 0:58

1 Answer 1


It looks to be a colored pencil drawing based on a photograph. I have a couple similar examples of my ancestors in Germany. Here the subjects were born about 1830, married 1861, and both died in 1897.

Drawing of Georg Gulker and Agnes Jostpille

It was based off of this photo taken around the time of their 20th wedding anniversary in 1881.

Guhkler-Jostpille family 1881

But there's really no way to know if the drawing was done in 1881 or 1891.

The other example I have is their daughter and son-in-law, who married in 1891 and both died in 1912/1913. My suspicion is that both drawings were created in celebration of an anniversary. Perhaps the parents 30th in 1891, and the daughter's 10th in 1901 (or 20th in 1911).

The dress style in your drawing looks to be between 1895-1900, based on the woman's puffy sleeves. But as for when this colorized copy was actually created, you may have better luck trying to date the original frame. I think these types of drawings went out of style before 1920, as by then photographers could reproduce large paper photos and colorize them cheaper than the sketch artists.


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