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By JD Wells, Quarter Plate


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SKU: D14-286 Category:

“TAKEN BY J.D. WELLS . . . July 18” was boldly written in pencil in the bottom to the couple’s leather case that is worn and has a poorly repaired spine using a black cloth hinge. The couple was identified on a scrap of paper as “Mr. and Mrs. John Wells”. The daguerreotypist was Jeremiah and he opened a gallery prior to 1845 in Wilkes Barre, PA and sold it to R. B. Gross. He was more well known for his volume of work while he operated in Northampton, MA circa 1850 to after 1860. He did have satellite studies back in Wilkes Barre circa 1852 and Brattleboro, VT circa 1853. This superbly prepared quarter plate had a PHOENIX hallmark. I have seen other portraits as early as 1845 with the identical imprint. Since Wells used an octagonal mat to frame the couple, whose retaped portrait has fabulous deep depth, I feel that their likeness was not taken after 1850, about the same time their case became popular. Upright Mr. Wells felt comfortable placing one hand inside his vest while his wife rested her elbow on a large vertical book that had been placed on the seat of her chair. The title seems to be “Life of John Quincy Adams.” Her hand was nicely positioned against her face. The pleasant couple inquired about the process with their keen eyes directed into the lens. Color was applied to her ribbons and their faces. I wonder what, if any, relationship John had with Jeremiah? A wonderful dag that sparkles!