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Half Plate


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SKU: DX-61 Category:

“EAGLE GALLERY NY.” In the bottom of his complete half plate push button leather case “Eagle Gallery NY (New York)” was written in pencil. How is it that I had never heard of this particular dag saloon? I just checked and John Craig, who did definitive work on daguerreians before his death a few years ago, does not list this studio in New York. There was an ?Eagle Gallery? in Healdsburg CA in early 1859 when John H. Heering was the proprietor! So, this dag saloon is a mystery but the superlative quality of the archivally prepared piece, which was probably produced circa 1852, represented the apex of daguerreotypy at that time. The unidentified gent was daguerreotyped in a classic bust portrait style. I believe illumination from a skylight bathed the fellow with such perfection that his remarkable features seem as thought they were chiseled from a beautiful block of marble. The sharpness of focus and the shallow depth of field worked magnificently to create a masterwork with so much deep reflected depth that at a severe angle, I can almost walk into the large likeness and stand behind the subject while he was being taken. This then is an object that is impossible to reproduce using pixels. There is pale patina inside the double elliptical mat and aside from a few mold mites and a “day he was captured on this mirror” teeny scratch at the top; the resealed man has gracefully aged almost to perfection.