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And then there were eight children dressed in the finest outfits that they possessed standing in front of a daguerreotype camera! I wonder if their parents hired a local daguerreotypist who was plying his trade in a medium sized town to come visit them to make this astounding resealed and recleaned quarter plate likeness or did they read about an itinerant traveling nearby? The Star Double 40 J. P. hallmark usually wasn’t seen until 1847 and the brass mat design became popular about then also. The preserver was used fashionably until circa 1848, but if the man who made the portrait was on the road constantly, he might have been taking dags using these parts until about 1850. I added a complete leather case that fits into the timeframe. While mentioning the components I will add that the buffing was superbly done and the reflective depth was remarkable along with the range in contrast. The mystery begins with that object behind the kids. It looks like a long wooden bench without a back supported on at least a couple stools. Was it placed there to support the rear row of brothers? A large cloth with a crease down the center and a few wrinkles isolated the siblings and created a neural background. It was instantly apparent to me that the sun was high overhead when the exposure was made. However, did the daguerreotypist fabricate a thin transparent screen above his subjects and white cloth on either side of the camera to soften the shadows? Because several of them squinted, it obviously was very bright. Can you instantly determine which winsome child was the most reluctant to pose? Not only did one of her six brothers place a hand on her shoulder but he also rested his other hand on top of her head. Her expression tells the entire tale of her displeasure with the operation. The little miss next to her nearly “fell out” of the dag, being the smallest. She too was not a happy camper. What amazed me the most are the fashions the boys wore. The older lads displayed newer styles while the three youngest little chaps were clothed in hand me down suits that were popular three to five years earlier. I won’t dwell on the previous damage done to the silver. Fortunately, the cluster of spots, none of them green, and most of the scratches nearly disappear when the daguerreotype is properly viewed. Need I add how remarkably rare this image is?



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