FINNISH PHOTOGRAPHER KARL EMIL STAHLBERG’S MYSTERY PORTRAIT OF PENSIVE GENTLEMAN (HELSINKI, 1894)

The Cabinet Card Gallery needs help identifying the gentleman in this photograph. The pensive man in this image was photographed by Karl Emil Stahlberg (1862-1919) in Helsinki, Finland. The cabinet card is exceptionally large, 5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ and was photographed in 1894. .  Stahlberg was a Finnish photographer and engineer. Stahlberg was a man for all seasons. In 1904 he opened Finland’s first film theatre. He was also the nations first film producer. He initially specialized in short documentaries. He later produced Finlands’s first fictional film and hired painter Louis Sparre to direct the film. Stahlberg was the cousin of Finland’s first President, Kaarlo Juho Stahlberg. The reverse of this cabinet card may offer clues as to the identity of the gentleman pictured in the photograph. In pencil on the back of the card is the inscription “Greve  (unclear word) Sparre”. There is a second inscription on the reverse of the card; and a copy of this inscription is provided above. Is the subject Louis Sparre or one of his relatives?  Any help in identifying  the subject of this photograph would be appreciated.          UPDATE:       Thanks to the cabinet card gallery’s vast research department (in other words, the sites visitors), the gentleman in this photograph appears to have been identified. Check out the comment section to see how a visitor identified the gentleman in less than 24 hours time after the photograph was posted. The gentleman is not just a gentleman; he is also a Swedish Count. Ambjorn Pehr Sparre (1828-1921) was the son of Pehr Sparre, a Colonel and author. Ambjorn Pehr Sparre was the father of artist Louis Sparre.  He participated in Parliament, headed a bank note paper mill, and between 1855 and 1871, established a printing house which printed stamps for the national post office. He is associated with the first Swedish hydrogen balloon ascent. He was an inventor whose work was done in the areas of security paper, weapons, bicycles, flying machines, underwater vehicles as well as a number of other areas.

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. I’m sure that the man featured in this photo is my great great grandfather Per Ambjorn Sparre. He was an inventor amongst other things and actually created the first perforated postage stamps in Stockholm. He married an Italian woman and spent much of his life in Paris. There is a wealth of information about him in Swedish. He was Louis Sparre’s (My great grandfather) father. It was a pleasure seeing this photo for me! I have a painting that looks exactly the same.


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