This paper explores the development of unique image dating tool – the first of its kind in Australia – set to transform the way family historians and researchers interpret and date portrait images. A collaboration between the State Library of NSW and Inside History magazine, the Portrait Detective project has realised a dynamic and freely accessible website, built on the expertise of Library staff and its rich collections, to assist users to date images based on how we dress. Up to 100 images from the State Library’s diverse collections (including paintings, drawings, miniatures, silhouettes, engraving and photographs) dating from 1788 to 1955, have been arranged in a chronological timeline to form the visual centrepiece for the website. This core set of downloadable images is supported by impeccably researched image analysis, allowing users to be guided through the step‐by‐step process of accurately dating and interpreting portraits though dress history details and other key factors. In addition, this website project offers a new way to present special collections.
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