I can honestly report that this was a tremendous character portrait taken circa 1849 of a young guy whose occupation is not instantly discernible today. (I suspect that he might have been a machinist). The main light entered the small space from the right. His head and shoulder shadows were cast on the neutral backdrop and also touched the diaphanous vertical white area on the left, which Casey and I believe was a sheer curtain over a smaller open window. The reason for the softness of the fabric and partial ghosting of the artisan?s arm and checkered shirt sleeve was movement from a slight breeze. Either the powerful fellow was taken in an extremely narrow room or more likely, inside a daguerreian wagon. The unknown operator achieved fantastic contrast and used some pale red pigments on his subject?s handsome face. The glossy reflection on the man?s dark hat was impressive. The sixth plate portrait was resealed in 1990 by another conservator and I suspect a new leather hinge was applied to bind the two halves of the leather case together at the same time. The likeness has instantaneous impact from the initial viewing onwards! Plus, great clarity and reflected depth!
A SERIOUS HAMMER!