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The title for a most extraordinary quarter plate daguerreotype was the easy part in this description. While I am absolutely certain that a famous daguerreotypist made this tour de force on silver in the mid-1850s, I must sadly admit, that I do not know his identity. I was told by the dealer who owned them prior to myself, that the mat was not original to the image. However, it was readily apparent when I made a new archival seal years ago, that the children had previously been framed by a very similar (in size) oval opening. Indeed, an unknown hand cleaned the surface at one time. There are even such faint wispy marks in places that I hesitate mentioning them. Also a few flecks and specks, along with mat marks. Beyond those ?flaws? I will suggest the condition as nearly pristine. If the kids are viewed very closely, it is apparent that each of them was wearing a gauzy blouse that had been draped very low on their torsos. The maker manipulated the plate using a cloud-like vignette process to produce an effect showing his subjects resting or floating in another place, possibly space. Even the serpentine undulations of the ornate rail behind them provide ?wings? if you have a vivid imagination such as mine! I know, with such an obvious piece of furniture, you are all asking, ?why haven?t you been able to identify the operator?? I can say with confidence that the pleasant little subjects were bathed with brightness from high above them on the left side. A large white reflector was placed on the right and wrapped around nearly to the camera?s position. There is a mellow softness in the focus (I KNOW Southworth & Hawes were the only makers that used the technique consistently). I just can?t say for certain that the firm was responsible for the incredible portrait. I am also uncertain as to the gender of each child. Don?t believe the tale, ?if their hair is parted in the middle, it must be a girl?. That is hogwash or worse!!! Since you have read along to this point, after I tell you that a wonderful complete leather push button case keeps their magnificent jewel safe, go back to the scan, multiply by a 1,000 times how they look in hand, and marvel with me over the technical and artistic brilliance.