Greg French Early Photography Greg French

      Greg French Early Photography Early Photography
      Greg French Early Photographyspecializing in nineteenth - century photographs
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BLACK 'CONTRABANDS' CONDUCT COCKFIGHTING FOR THE AMUSEMENT OF OFFICERS, BY ALEXANDER GARDNER

This photo is on it's original mount, and comes with a larger modern mount with mat (slides in and out with photo corners).

Text on original mount: "A FANCY GROUP, IN FRONT OF PETERSBURG. NO. 76. AUGUST, 1864.' Also on mount, just below the photo: "Negative by DAVID KNOX. Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 1865, by A. Gardner, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Columbia. Postitive by A. GARDNER, 511 7th St., Washington."

Text on back of larger modern mount is an excerpt from Photographic Sketchbook of the Civil War, by Alexander Gardner: "A Fancy Group, Army of the Potomac. The monotony of camp life was relieved by every variety of amusement that was known, or could be devised... Cock fighting, however, was quite unusual, and seldom permitted, except when some of the contrabands incited their captured Shanghais, or more ignoble fowls, to combat. Such displays were always ludicrous, and were generally exhibited for the amusement of the mess for whom the feathered bipeds were intended..."

We found the following online: "In June 1864, Union General Ulysses S. Grant launched a 10-month siege of the strategically important railroad hub at Petersburg, Virginia... Washington-based Alexander Gardner sent two photographers into the field—Timothy O’Sullivan and David Knox. As the siege was getting under way, O’Sullivan and Knox took two photos of a cock fight about to begin. Here, Union General Orlando B. Willcox (seated, center) and his staff gather around to watch as camp servants prepare to release the fowl for a fight to the death. Two of the soldiers hold small whips. Alcohol and cigars round out the brutal but genteel scene. A young soldier smiles broadly—a rare occurrence in Civil War photographs..." (source: The Atlantic, November 15, 2013)

LARGE ALBUMEN PHOTO
$3600.
COCKFIGHTING FOR THE AMUSEMENT OF OFFICERS
SIZE
Photo: Approximately 7 x 9 inches. Original mount: Approximately 12 1/8 x 16 3/4 inches. Modern mount and mat: Approximately 16 x 20 inches.
CONDITION
Photo: Dark spots and small marks. Light soiling in sky. When tilted, some scuffing is apparent. Original mount: Discoloration around photo. Missing lower left corner. A couple of tiny missing pieces along left edge. Light foxing. A stain at upper right. Modern mount and mat: Good condition.
APPEARANCE
Photo has exceptionally deep and rich tones. Strong contrast. Great composition. Rare and unusual content, a fantastic scene.

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