Paul Frecker
Fine Photographs


Immigrant family with barrel organ, c. 1900

An unmounted albumen print showing an immigrant family of itinerant musicians with a barrel organ mounted on a cart drawn by a donkey. The man’s clothes suggest he might originally have hailed from Italy or perhaps somewhere in the Balkans. Note the photobomber at the window in the background.

The sign above the birdcage fixed to the side of the barrel organ reads in part ‘Charming Birds / For the small sum of one penny / from this box …’ Although the rest of the text is illegible, street musicians commonly trained caged canaries to 'tell fortunes' by drawing pre-prepared cards from a deck, as an entertainment for children of middle class families. 

Photographer unidentified.

Condition: the print is in excellent condition, with very good tonal range.

Dimensions: the print measures 5.2” by 7.9” (13.3 cm by 20.2 cm).


price:  £40
code: cat019
music, musician, musicians, street musician, street musicians, barrel organ, barrel organs, donkey, donkeys, cart, carts, immigrant, immigrants