Studio Portraits by Gordon Hatfield


Apparently Gordon Sullivan Hatfield took up photography between 1891 and 1900. Probably in 1901 he moved from Tusket Falls to live with Eleanor Jane (MacKinnon) Hatfield, his maternal grandmother, in her home at what is now 24 John White Road, on the northern edge of the Tusket River basin on which the village of Tusket is situated. By 1903 Hatfield had established a photographic studio in one of the outbuildings situated across the the road from the house and on the banks of the Tusket River. [1]

To visualize the studio’s interior, we have only to examine Hatfield’s studio portraits, such as the ones below that, for convenience, are numbered 1 through 16. The floor of the studio was probably covered with the patterned linoleum seen in portraits 8–10. The linoleum was covered occasionally by a course fabric rug to protect it from bicycle tires (portrait 11) or animal claws (portrait 12). Portrait 11 shows a large painted backdrop depicting the interior of a room with columns; parts of this scene appear also in portraits 5, 7, 8–10, and 15. Another backdrop is used in portrait 12; perhaps a third appears in portraits 4 and 6. A dark patterned fabric serves as a backdrop in portrait 3.

The studio’s moveable props included chairs, rugs, and toys. An elegant cushioned chair with wooden arms appears in portraits 15 and 6–8; perhaps a chair with padded arms is used in portrait 1. The fur rug of portrait 6 serves as a throw in portraits 4–5. Portraits 9–10 feature a goat-like animal on wheels, while in portraits 5 and 7 our attention is divided between an adoring teddy bear and its adorable mistress.

References and Notes

    [1] Peter Crowell, “Gordon S. Hatfield –– Tusket Photographer.” The Argus, vol. 26(1), Spring 2014, pp. 37–45.

    [2] I thank archivist Peter Crowell, of the Argyle Township Court House and Archives (ATCHA), for providing access to photographs by, and archival material concerning, Gordon Hatfield. All photographs labeled ATCHA are copyrighted; please contact the Archives if you wish to acquire copies.

William Day (1 April 2016)