“It is the sleeve and its changes,” writes clothing historian Joan Severa, “that gives the best dating tool for the nineties” (Dressed for the Photographer, 458). This bride’s leg o’mutton sleeves date the photograph to ca. 1895-1900. If you look closely, the sleeve appears to have a double puff and to end just below the elbow in a loose gathered lace cuff.
White for wedding dresses, pioneered by Queen Victoria’s 1840 wedding gown, had become traditional by the early 1890s.
The groom wears a morning or cutaway coat, typical fashionable formal day-wear for Victorian men.
The black mount, with its gold serrated edges and relatively elaborate advertising on the back, was in wide use between 1890 and 1899.
The address indicates that the photographer occupied two spaces, 409 and 411 North Gay Street. According to his obituary, Julius Hebbel (1853-1905) owned two studio spaces on North Gay Street at the time of his death.
The term “instantaneous,” according to Lou W. McCulloch, referred in cabinet card photography to “short durations of exposure.” Faster exposure times became possible with the invention of the gelatin-bromide dry plate by George Eastman in 1881.
The sepia tone of this photo suggests, however, that Hebbel was still using wet-plate process albumen paper and washing it chloride of gold. McCulloch says both processes were in use up to about 1895 (Card Photographs, A Guide to Their History and Value, 47.)