Thomas Nevin and Alfred Barrett Biggs 1872-1876
Posing with an upturned riding crop or cane in his right hand, his left hand resting on the chair where someone decorously placed a book and top hat as signifiers of class and literacy, Alfred Barrett Biggs appears anything but relaxed at the point of capture, despite the casual stance with right leg bent at the knee crossing the left. Although his gaze fell slightly to the left of where Thomas Nevin stood while composing the shot, the exchanges of dialogue between the two men at that point would not explain why Alfred’s eyes fairly burn, they are so bright. Very light or pale blue eyes can cause this sort of look and pin pricks or black dots were sometimes used by studio assistants to accentuate or even animate the client’s eyes when they do appear too pale. Even though Alfred’s eyes do not appear exceedingly light in later portraits taken in the 1880s and 1890s (see Addenda 3 below), his pupils were darkened in this portrait with black ink, and because the alignment of each black dot is slightly askew, Alfred appears somewhat overwrought and anguished. … More Thomas Nevin and Alfred Barrett Biggs 1872-1876
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