A CHRISTENING DRESS! At least that is what I have derived after examining the over matted portrait that is between a quarter plate and a half plate size. The baby appears to me sound asleep in mother?s arms. Her tiny features were professionally tinted while her garment and bonnet were also embellished. The lad?s shirt was paint red and blue while his face, framed by a mop of curly dark hair, was also skillfully touched with pigments, as was his parent?s flesh tones. In fact, the gold that accentuated the woman?s jewelry was also precisely finished. A broad swath of patina has developed inside a unique rectangular paper mat that was wafer thin. The pattern simulated a wood-like surface. The medium/heavy plate did not have a hallmark. Three of the four corners were clipped at different angles while the fourth one was square. The longer sides of the plate, which measured 3 5/8 by 4 ? inches, were bent up slightly towards the copper. A wide gut tape seal adhered the four sides to the original glass and then a full paper seal covered the entire reverse. Casey has done the restoration. The silver was crudely polished in every direction possible and the buff strokes don?t totally disappear except at one angle, when the sheer genius of the operator is revealed. Superlative illumination boldly defined their features. The daguerreotypist posed his trio in front of a textured cloth that had leaves painted the entire length on the left side. I suspect that there was also a white reflector on that side. While the woman remained motionless and peered directly into the lens, her little boy moved his hands and head. Naturally, the third member was completely oblivious to the entire procedure. The blue solarization added a surreal quality to their likeness. The leather case has a professionally applied leather hinge joining the unmarked reverse to a cover that had a horizontal theme. This was an unusual variant of the classical Grecian Urn overflowing with flowers. There is a teeny green speck within the brown dot on the kid?s head and a larger green intrusion below his hands. There is a fair amount of flotsam and jetsam scattered about. Two mold spiders hug the mat at the top, plus a few more green specks are present. The image was most likely taken circa 1845.