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Pair of Sixth Plates


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SKU: D13-158 Category:

I REMOVED . . . The pair of sixth plate dags from their double compartmented common thermoplastic case and found my mentor and dearest friend’s business cards underneath each tiny tot. Joan Murray, who passed away two years ago, had a passion for and knowledge of daguerreotypes early on that grew into one of the most important collections of daguerreotypes on the west coast. Joan wrote on each card the information that was etched on the reverse of the children (I haven’t decided if they were twins or the same kid taken twice)! The inscriptions tell us this, “Allston Sept. 6 1851 Nantucket”. That would most likely be the island located directly south of Cape Cod (Massachusetts). Nantucket was a robust whaling community in the mid-19th century. The citizens supported a full-time daguerreotypist, Edward Sutton who operated a gallery on the island from 1847 into the early 1860s. I suspect that he made these lovely and poignant childhood likenesses and that Allston was the family surname. Joan recorded the date she purchased the images, “1/16/73” over 40 years ago. In each archivally taped image, the baby had been placed in a wicker or woven rush basket or carriage that had a retractable top. Those visible parallel folds upper left that reflected the illumination were part of that apparatus. Tarnish and mat scrapes are now part of the silvery presentation. The child was tinted after he or she looked directly into the lens through wide opened large dark eyes. In the second dag, the child?s cap was removed, the daguerreian positioned the camera slightly higher and closer, and he made a 1-2 second longer exposure. At one angle several deep buff strokes are visible. There is a mold mite in the babe?s hair. Both examples are highly reflective.