Families in Mourning: Posthumous Photos

 

 

 

 

fittonThe painting is of Louis Fitton, who was born on May 13, 1863 and died in 1866. The artist of the painting is unknown. The photograph was taken in 1908 by Frank Snyder and is of C.W. Stout. Both were created after the children’s deaths. No other information about these haunting and intriguing images is known to the public.

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 "Portrait of Louis Fitton" Courtesy McGuffey Museum

 Perhaps nothing is known to the public because  an artful depiction of the dead is one of the most  intimate forms of grief. Posthumous photographs  and paintings were not meant for public display.  They were meant to help families remember their  children and accept their deaths. Often times,  children were not shown simply as dead children,  but rather they were depicted in an angelic and  peaceful form. Both Louis and C.W. Stout, with  their white gowns and serene faces, appear  beatific. The families are able to remember their  children in this heavenly light, instead of the  darkness of death.

"Portrait Photograph of deceased infant, C.W. Stout 1908" Courtesy the Snyder Collection