PHO2009_341.jpg Elizabeth Howell (nee Jennings) (about 1854-1898). Collection of Puke Ariki (PHO2009-341).

This ambrotype of Elizabeth Howell (nee Jennings) demonstrates a peculiarity of early Victorian photography. 

Ambrotypes are inverted, or reversed, images and – if you look very closely – you can see Elizabeth is wearing her wedding ring on what we would normally read as her right hand. As such, the person who has hand-tinted the ambrotype has painted a gold wedding ring on what appears to be her left hand. However, given the reversal of the photograph, the painted ring is actually on the wrong hand. The photograph highlights a trick for young players, or perhaps that should be for young photographers. 

Elizabeth was born in England in 1817 and married Simeon Howell on 24 September 1839. The couple immigrated to New Zealand in 1840 and arrived in New Plymouth on the Brougham on 10 May 1842.  Elizabeth died on 11 May 1898 in New Plymouth and is buried at the Te Hēnui cemetery.

Related Information


Search the Puke Ariki Heritage Collection


Please do not reproduce these images without permission from Puke Ariki. 
Contact us for more information or you can order images online here.