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P.E.I. woman uncovers hand-tinted photos from 1927 during home renovations

Kara Acorn holds one of the photographs by F.O. MacLeod, dated 1927, that she discovered in her home. (Stacey Janzer/CBC - image credit)
Kara Acorn holds one of the photographs by F.O. MacLeod, dated 1927, that she discovered in her home. (Stacey Janzer/CBC - image credit)

Kara Acorn thought she was just decluttering a closet in her home, but she ended up uncovering a surprise — treasures the P.E.I. woman almost threw away.

Acorn and her family bought the house on Colville Road in Hampshire 10 years ago and recently started doing some renovations.

While clearing out a closet in a back porch, Acorn discovered two photographs that date back almost 100 years.

"I was in my happy space, just decluttering and getting rid of stuff," she said.

"I put my hand behind one of our shelving units … and I felt cardstock. At first I was going to be like, 'Throw them in the bin.' [But] I don't know what these are, so where's a better place to ask but Facebook, right?"

An old photograph called The Roaring Bull by F.O. MacLeod shows waves crashing against the coast.
An old photograph called The Roaring Bull by F.O. MacLeod shows waves crashing against the coast.

An old photograph called The Roaring Bull by MacLeod shows waves crashing against the coast. (Stacey Janzer/CBC)

One photo, titled The Roaring Bull, shows a wave crashing against a rocky shoreline in the foreground and a cliff in the background. The second untitled picture is of a small waterfall.

Both are signed by the photographer, Fred O. MacLeod, and are dated 1927.

Acorn says she has little information about the Nova Scotia photographer who painted colour into the black-and-white pictures, a process called hand-tinting. The process means even reprints of the same photos will all be painted with slight differences.

Nova Scotia scenes account for many of the photos MacLeod captured and painted.

A photo of a waterfall by F.O. MacLeod that was found in Kara Acorn's home on P.E.I.
A photo of a waterfall by F.O. MacLeod that was found in Kara Acorn's home on P.E.I.

A photo of a waterfall by F.O. MacLeod that was found in Acorn's home on P.E.I. (Stacey Janzer/CBC)

The Acorns are only the second occupants of the home, so the photos were likely stored there by the original owners, a brother and sister who have since died.

Acorn's Facebook post didn't generate many leads as to the value of the photos, but several of MacLeod's surviving photos can be found for sale on online auction sites.

While she may one day get a professional to look at them, Acorn is for now content to have uncovered some special new decor for her home.

"They're in pretty good condition for being almost 100 years old and for being stuck behind a rack," Acorn said. "Even if it's not worth anything, I think that it's really going to be a great part of our house and a great story to tell."