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Quarter Plate


Out of stock

SKU: D16-222 Category:

B. S. & A. Okay, I don’t really know if anyone ever referred to the Boston, Springfield and Albany railroad like that when this monumental masterpiece was taken circa 1847 but it made a convenient introduction don’t you think? The archivally preserved quarter plate daguerreotype had flat sides and clipped corners. It was produced on one of the heaviest pieces of plate stock that Casey and I have ever held. There was no hallmark. Neither of us had ever seen a train view with such marvelous information stenciled on the cars. From right to left in this laterally reversed view the order of the train was this: Engine; tender; ?baggage car?; ?Boston, Springfield, Troy?; (next three cars) ?Boston, Springfield, Albany?; “???? & Co. Express?; Boston, Springfield, Albany 2nd class car? and a portion of an unidentified passenger car. (In a second scan, I have reversed the dag and enlarged the train to make it easier to read the information). There was a large sign seen on the left side of the image but no matter how clever I was, the letters have eluded my ability to decipher them. I have spent hours ?visiting? towns along the rail line and still can?t pinpoint the location although I can say because of the rolling hills in the topography the view certainly must have been taken during the height of summer, on a bright overcast day, in the Berkshires located in Western Massachusetts. I suspect that the engineer and firemen were posed on the right. The baggage handler most likely stood on his car. Naturally that would have been a conductor on the ?2nd class car? that contained passengers, several who sat by open windows. Don?t you wonder who the gentleman was seated on the chair in the coach?s doorway? Can you imagine the amount of effort expended and the challenges that an unknown daguerreotypist faced to produce this stellar piece? The railroad that connected Boston to Albany was constructed in sections from the major hubs running east to west and west to east simultaneously until the entire line was connected circa 1842. Five years later the man with his camera most likely would have been commissioned (by the railroad possibly) to make this outstanding daguerreotype. I doubt that anyone with such consummate skills was operating a gallery in the Berkshires in 1847. The man would have ridden the rails from Boston, Worcester or Albany most likely to this scenic town. There was either a slight rise in the land away from the train or else the camera was placed in a second story window to create the tableau. Since there aren?t any shadows it is difficult to judge the direction of the shot. The trees were filled with leaves and many of the substantial buildings had shuttered windows or they were left open to catch the light breeze in the air. The passengers? windows were also pushed up for added ventilation. There is one mercury spot in the sky and original tarnish hugs the oval mat. The scrapes were caused when the tape became loose and the plate shifted inside a classic delicate roses leather case that had ?Pretlove?, the diesinker?s name embossed on the covers. Casey has made a new leather hinge. This is a wonderful scene to further explore on foot if someone could only create conveyance back to the day. The detritus in the foreground includes hardwood rail ties, long slender planks, two sets of forged steel wheels and iron rails. This junction contained two parallel tracks. The sturdy New England style homes and outbuildings were nestled into a community linked by a dirt track and bounded by stone and wooden railed fences. The sharpness of the reproduction was remarkable. The creaminess of the tonality was perfect for this idyllic slice of Americana.