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Francis Frith gold-toned albumen print, circa 1870s



Morehouse Gallery deals in fine photographs from the 19th century to present day. We have a particularly rich inventory of American 20th century photographs. Our mission is to provide superior value -- in accessibility, quality, selection, service, and pricing -- to collectors worldwide. We are on the Internet because of the unprecedented opportunity it provides.

We provide assistance with collection building and divesting, pricing analysis, and other research. We represent clients at auctions internationally. We monitor live and internet-based auctions and advise clients about buying or selling in these markets.

Sales are through the online gallery, at trade shows, and by private appointment. Holdings are deeper than what is on the web catalogue at any given moment. Please inquire if there are particular examples you seek.

Morehouse Gallery was founded in 1999 by Richard Morehouse. Richard is a graduate of The Putney School, St. John's College, and Yale School of Management.



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Components of Value


The value of a photograph is related to numerous factors, including the:

  • importance of the artist;
  • importance of the image (or the quality of an image in the case of an unknown photographer);
  • scarcity of the image;
  • condition of the print;
  • print date in relation to the image date
  • size of the print;
  • provenance (i.e., previous ownership);
  • photographic medium (e.g., silver vs. platinum print).

An excellent way to get a sense for what a photograph is worth is to look at previous auction results for the same or for a similar photograph. When doing so, bear in mind that a number of issues will affect the analysis, including:

  • supply and demand factors at the time of the previous auction result (e.g., was there a glut of similar material sold then? Was the bidding thin or were there many interested bidders?)
  • changes in the economy and in the art market over the intervening time;
  • material differences in the aforementioned factors between the previously auctioned piece and the piece in question (e.g., differences in condition)
  • the fact that photographs often are auctioned in lots of more than one, requiring the analyst to aportion the price to the individual photographs that comprise the lot.




Morehouse Gallery uses high quality scanning technology to convey the most accurate and complete information possible.

The objective of the image scans is to convey the composition, color, and tonality of the piece as accurately as possible. If, for example, the piece is low contrast, then so is the scan. Tonality is never "improved" for the video display, only to have the buyer upset when the actual piece arrives in the mail. Jpeg compression is set to high such that one cannot detect any evidence of the compression.

On the other hand, verso scans (the back of the photograph) is sometimes enhanced (e.g., sharpened, darkened) to ensure that physical defects as well as signatures, inscriptions, handstamps and other markings are plainly visible.


Condition Grading


Condition grading is the means by which print defects, if any, are disclosed. Grading has nothing to do with the quality of the image itself, including the photographer's choice of subject, lense, cropping, tonal renderings, and other artistic factors .

There are four categories of defects that affect a photograph's condition grade:

  1. Chemical Defects and Color Changes. Includes foxing, fading, yellowing, silvering, or other color changes caused by exposure to light, inadequate fixing or washing, and/or other chemical changes.
  2. Physical Defects. Tears, emulsion cracks, thinness of the paper base, surface wear, corner wear, folds, and other physical harm to the emulsion surface, emulsion support, or the original mount.
  3. Foreign Material. Stains, soiling, poor spotting, and other foreign material in the emulsion or the original mount.
  4. Original Defects. Includes original defects in the printing paper, printing defects, and lack of spotting.

Grading is conservative and even-handed. There are seven grades, with no intermediate steps -- borderline cases are given the lower grade. They are:

  1. Mint. Fresh, with no defects.
  2. Excellent. No defects.
  3. Near Excellent. With very minor defects. Generally excludes all Category I image defects, tears, emulsion cracks, thinness of the paper base, poor spotting and lack of spotting. Defects are invisible in the framed piece but are visible with a loupe or with harsh side lighting.
  4. Very Good. With minor defects from any of the four categories. Defects are invisible in the framed piece.
  5. Good. With one or more minor visible defects.
  6. Fair. With one or more significant visible defects in the image area. An image is usually not collectible in this condition unless it is extremely rare and important.
  7. Poor. With major defects. This category is not used.


Terms of Sale

  • All orders are paid in full prior to shipping.

  • Prices are as marked and subject to change at any time.

  • Discounts may sometimes be applied to large orders.

  • Pieces are sold without mat and frame unless otherwise indicated.

  • Shipment is within 5 business days of receipt of payment, unless other arrangements are explicitly reached between the gallery and the buyer.

  • Returns may be made within 7 days for a refund. Buyer pays shipping. After 7 days, sales are final.

  • Returned pieces must be in exactly the same condition as received, packed in the original shipping materials.

    Otherwise, they will not be accepted.


Matting and Framing

  You can have them any color you want, boys, as long as it's black.

- Henry Ford, speaking to a group of car dealers in 1921 about the Model T.

In my experience, it turns out that black is not the only acceptable color for framing a photograph. White is also a very good frame color for many pictures. For pictures with warm tonalities, even brown may be a good choice.

The job of mat and frame is to protect the piece; be of a suitable scale and design; isolate the picture in a way that is consistent with the the artist's intentions; provide tonal reference points for the highlights, midtones, and shadows; minimize reflections and the effects of inadequate lighting; coexist with other things in the room where it is hung; and be durable. The frame is successful if these objectives are considered elegantly and well.

Framing is a local business. We are happy to consult with you and your framer to make sure that all of the above considerations are met.



  • Shipping is by Fedex, UPS or the US Postal Service. We will accomodate your preference in shipper.

  • Insurance is required.

  • Shipment is within 5 business days of receipt of payment, unless other arrangements are explicitly reached between the gallery and the buyer.

  • Items are carefully packaged to prevent in transit damage. Please open carefully and retain the packaging materials in case of return shipment.

© 2015 Morehouse Gallery
2430 Beacon Street Chestnut Hill MA 02467 USA