For sale is an awesome 1936 HEIRLOOM FRAMED DOMED GLASS PORTRAIT made by the Chicago Portrait Company, Cook County, Chicago. The bronze plaque on the back of the frame is inscribed Edson B. Hart and the portrait was made from a 1936 portrait as noted by Chicago Studios Art Director, E. H. Boese. The portrait, frame and glass are all in excellent condition. The dome frame measures about 16 1/2 inches tall by 11 inches wide. A first rate Americana collectible.
The subject of the photo is believed to be Dr. Edson B. Hart, an Illinois physician. In 1900, Edson B. Hart was licensed as a physician in the State of Illinois. Dr. Hart was born in 1868. He died at the age of 70 on July 18, 1939. He is buried at the Park Hill Cemetery and Mausoleum, Bloomington, McLean County, Illinois. The heirloom photo would have been created when he was 67 years old just a few years prior to his death.
The Chicago Portrait Company was in business between 1893 to the early 1940s. The company sent teams of salesmen across rural America to convince people to send ordinary photographs of family members both living and dead to Chicago, where the photos were enlarged and turned into impressive-looking family heirloom portraits framed in a patented convex bubble glass. The portraits were then enlarged; printed on curved card stock; and enhanced with watercolor, India ink, oil paint, pastels or crayons. After the enhanced portraits were returned, the customer had the option of buying just the portrait for a few dollars or paying $27.50 to include a 14-carat gold, rope twisted, frame with convex bubble glass. The expensive frame at the time of the sale cost about the same as a month’s worth of the family’s groceries. See Chicago Portrait Co v. Federal Trade Commission, 4 F.2d 759 (1924) for a detailed description of the company’s sale practices.