Photochrome prints of harbors

Photochrom or photochrome prints are color prints created from a black-and-white photograph. These images were mass-produced between 1890 and 1910, typically in the form of postcards. Below is a collection of photochromes showing harbors around the world. A second page shows postcards that focus more on sailing boats and steamers.

postcard of the Kingstown harbour
Kingstown in County Dublin – Ireland

I consider the image below a classic example of good composition for landscape photography: an interesting foreground is combined with the main topic in the middle while the buildings keep the background relevant. The contours of the hills in the distance add to the atmosphere.

Historic photo of Aueenstown harbor
A steamship in Queenstown Harbor, County Cork – Ireland
Old picture of Caen in France
Steamers in the harbor of Caen -France

Look at that spectacular sky! Saint-Malo is a port city in Brittany, in France’s northwest.

Vintage postcard of Saint-Malo
The entrance to the harbor of St. Malo -France
Annecy harbor with a steamship moored
The chateau fort and harbor of Annecy – France

For Hamburg I added the very colorful first image specifically because of that dramatic sky.

Postcard of sailboats in Hamburg
Old postcard of Hamburg harbor
Sailing ships in the harbor of Hamburg, Germany

The old and the new together on one image, with a steamer pulling a sailing ship into the harbor (or harbour, since these are British ships).

Vintage postcard of a sailing ship
A sailing ship is pulled into the harbor of Littlehampton, England

The composition of the postcard below is pretty funny as it gives the impression that the ships are locked up in this tiny harbor.

old postcard of Abbazia
Fisher boats in the harbor of Abbazia, Austro-Hungary

I love that there is a printing company located in the harbor of Algiers in the picture below. It is a bit difficult to see on this low resolution image but that white building in the centre is Imprimerie Jourdan.

Vintage photochrom of Algiers harbor
The harbor and admiralty of Algiers in Algeria

There aren’t that many photochrom postcards showing paddle steamers. These are the ships powered by a steam engine that drives paddle wheels to propel the craft through the water. This was the predominant way of propulsion for steam-powered boats in the early 19th century. When these postcards were printed in the late 19th century the more efficient screw propeller had already taken over.

Photochrom of a Swedish paddle steamer
A steamboat enters the harbor of Helsingborg, Sweden

Can’t get enough of these historic photos?  Check out additional photochroms of North America, England, Ireland and the European continent.