?UNCLE ALBERT . . . Hatsh (or Hatch) on the way to Cal. with the 49ers?. That information was written later on a slip of paper that accompanied this magnificent archivally conserved quarter plate daguerreotype. The outstanding portrait is kept in a leather case with a professional leather hinge repair. Naturally, I wonder which seeker of gold was uncle Albert when the men posed in front of their substantial tent somewhere in California. I feel certain that the miners had arrived earlier and this was a semi-permanent camp while they panned for dust and nuggets. The ethereal quality of the light, the roughly buffed silver and the odd use of blue pigment along with marvelous solarization worked harmoniously together to create a very rare glimpse of two companions in front of their canvas home for months to come unless one or both struck it rich, washed out and pulled up stakes or became ill. These fellows were part of the massive migration from all over the world after the announcement of the discovery of gold in 1848, by James Marshall at Sutter?s mill. Having driven to the location in Coloma on Rte. 49 traveling south from Auburn and again north through Jackson and Placerville (Hangtown) I have always been amazed at the rugged rolling hills, switchbacks, razor sharp ravines and in general the inhospitable nature of the landscape. Early on, treasure was discovered in placid streams and hard charging rivers. Uncle Albert was daguerreotyped circa 1850 and would have been in one of the first waves of hard men and a few brave women who succumbed to gold fever! What of their unseen companion the daguerreotypist? Can you imagine how difficult it must have been for him to transport his camera and supplies to their rugged location? Using his previous knowledge and accumulated skill set guaranteed success even in the middle of nowhere. Mold spiders and tendrils at the top along with speckled tarnish don?t mar my appreciation of the accomplishment the daguerreian achieved in harsh conditions and challenging illumination! This is an important historical record worthy of any collection of fine daguerreotypes.