The female portrait was a highly cultivated subtype from the pioneering days of photography. Alone or in a group, women gained ground in a patriarchal world in which they were given the role of the young marriageable woman, mother, widow or nun. That is how they were represented, highlighting their beauty, serenity or the plenitude of their maternity.
Half-body or full-body female portraits were the absolute centrepiece of many old photographs. The personality of the women photographed was very heterogeneous: from theatre or cabaret artists to aristocrats, matrons and old women, they all have left the documentary mark in sepia, rescued now to document our past.
Portrait of a young woman with a lace mantilla [Late 19th century]. Photographer: Unknown. VIVERO, C. 214, D. 10
Lady from the Spanish-Cuban high society with a girl [circa 1860, Cuba]. Photographer: J. Hernández. TRILLO-FIGUEROA, C. 1, D. 2.
Half-body portrait of Inés de Bouligny. Photographer: Valentín Gómez (Madrid). VIVERO, C. 216, D. 3. Her husband, Joaquín de Bouligny, was a distinguished artilleryman in Segovia, co-author of the book titled "Memoria sobre la teoría y fabricación del acero en general y de su aplicación a las armas blancas" ("Report on the theory and manufacture of steel in general and on its application in bladed weapons"), Segovia, 1850.
Julia Schmidtlein and García-Teruel, (Mexico, 1872-1912), lady of the Order of María Luisa and wife of Francisco Javier Bermejillo y Martínez-Negrete, 1st Marquis of Bermejillo del Rey (1915), with her daughter Carolina de Bermejillo y Schmidtlein (Madrid, 1904). 1908 Photographer: Kaulak (Madrid). MENDIGORRÍA, C. 440, D. 12
Portrait of Lully Acapulco [Early 20th century]. Photographer: Widow of Edgardo Debás (Madrid). VIVERO, C. 214, D. 23 Café signers and cabaret performers were highly popular between 1890 and 1930, with their admirers collecting photos and autographs.
Portrait of the bust of a middle-aged lady [1875-1885]. Photographer: M. Alviach (Madrid). VIVERO, C. 214, D. 34