I picked these three photographs out of a pile at the flea market yesterday because I thought they were really interesting--kind of like pre-Instagram still lives of assorted and carefully arranged antique objects, with a pre-Photoshop instinct toward creating black or whited-out backgrounds. In addition, each features a Merry Christmas message in the form of a ribbon or label incorporated into the arrangement, which makes me think they were likely made to send as Christmas cards.
Happily, they are each signed on reverse, and with a little research I've identified the signers as a couple from Worchester, MA: Albert C. (1865-1957) and Lilla B. Houghton Marble (1867-1947). He was businessman (Curtis & Marble Company) and one of the foremost historic glass cup plate collectors in America (a genre of glass plates featuring historic portraits (busts), log cabins, monuments, boats, eagles etc.) Marble meticulously photographed and documented his collection, in order of acquisition, with 143 of these photographs now held in the collection of the Winterthur Library in Delaware. And so it makes perfect sense that he would also--perhaps in collaboration with Lilla--create photographs like these, each of which incorporates a cup plate!!! I also really love the playful choice of other objects, including marbles, from the Marbles!
Each photo measures approx 5 1/2" x 4 1/4". All are in great condition. I believe they likely date to the sometime 1920-40s.