Alfred Bock and the Bayles sisters

Outdoors, just back from a stroll in the fresh country air, hat in hand, was the theme chosen for Mary Louisa Bayles’ session at Alfred Bock’s studio ca. 1865.  He stood her next to a circular metal garden table decorated with a metal stand supporting a bowl of artificial fruits and flowers. Behind her, both on her left and right, two plaster plinths were to suggest a patio balustrade leading to steps rising to a terrace just out of frame. Painted on the backsheet to the viewer’s right, the large tree reaching to the top was to soften the edge of the frame in similar manner to the drape which nearly always appears in Alfred Bock and Thomas Nevin’s indoor studio portraits. In the distance to the viewer’s left, the smaller tree was to deepen perspective while allowing enough blank space to foreground the pose Mary Louisa chose as a complement to the outdoor decor. Only the carpet appears incongruous in a setting which has so much outdoor furniture. That same carpet with a pattern of large dark lozenges rimmed in white appears in several portraits by Thomas Nevin of private clients. He may have acquired it from H. H. Baily whose studio was located almost opposite in Elizabeth Street. It appears in Baily’s portrait of Sara Crouch who was photographed by Thomas Nevin about the same time, ca. 1872. … More Alfred Bock and the Bayles sisters