If you saw this photograph with the words "Cabinet Portrait" printed in the lower righthand corner of the card, you might logically assume that it was made in the United States, Great Britain or some other Engish-speaking part of the world. But you would be wrong. This photograph was probably taken in Bulgaria. There is a handwritten, dated inscription written in what I believe to be Bulgarian on the back of the card. This is not the first Bulgarian photograph on card stock printed or embellished with an English inscription that I have seen. I have also seen some printed with French inscriptions.
In this lovely portrait, a pretty young mother poses holding her beautiful baby in an elaborate garden. The picture might have been actually taken outdoors, but then again it might have been taken in a studio where a talented photographer assembled the background by arranging realistic artificial plants and flowers in front of a skillfully painted backdrop.
The proud young mother wears a light-colored, wonderfully detailed dress, the skirt of which is contructed with a wide panel in front embellished with many small covered buttons and large false button holes, giving the illusion that the panel is fastened on with the buttons. The elaborate bodice which is constructed with Renaissance-style slashed puffed sleeves is adorned with lace and a small running strand of dark embroidery with six dark buttons centered down low on the front. The pattern of the eyelet lace on her high collar has a cameo-shaped decorative design centered on the front of it. Light-colored elbow-lengh lace mitts and a large bow at the back of her beautifully arranged hair complete her ensemble.
The darling baby is dressed in what might be a christening gown of fine white muslin. The edge of the gown is decorated with several rows of tucks and a border of beautiful lace. The baby's cap is adorned with many, many loopings of satin ribbon, and several strands of the baby's dark hair peek out from its edge.
The handwritten inscription on the back of the photograph is written in what I believe to be Bulgarian, and perhaps that would give a clue as to the identities of the mother and child as well as perhaps the location of where the picture was made. "9-IX-1910" (September 9, 1910) is the date given.
UPDATE: Flickr friend josephnovak33 has provided a translation for the inscription:
"Yes, It´s a Bulgarian inscription," he writes. "I can decipher only the first and the last row: Little Marguerite 7 months old....... Town of Teteven 9th of September 1910."
Thanks a million, Josef!