Reform School in Montevideo


Vintage albumen print circa 1880 showing the state-run "School of Arts and Crafts" at Montevideo, Uruguay. Believed the work of Fitzpatrick Studio, official photographers to the Uruguayan government. On portion of period mount with decorative printed border and title "Escuela de Artes y Oficios / Montevideo." Dimensions of mount about 8 x 10.5 inches (20x27 cm). Print size 7.25 x 9.75 inches (18x25 cm).   Price: $450.   ( Inventory# id158l )


The "Escuela de Artes y Oficios" was a quasi-reform school run by the Uruguayan Army and Navy Department for the improvement of street children caught in petty theft, vagrancy, and other crimes. The school also served as a source of labor for the military -- the first gunboat built in Uruguay for its Navy was assembled at the school in 1884. Strict discipline at the establishment sometimes led to unrest among the students.

In this image we see six of the school's students learning the preeminently military trade of gunsmithing. Rows of identical guns stacked behind the cluttered workbench seem to indicate that this branch of the school was engaged in significant production.

Although unsigned, this image is believed to be the work of Fitzpatrick Studio, official photographers to the Uruyguayan government.

Some wear to print, tears in mount board.


Last updated September 8, 2017

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