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Excellence By Brady, Sixth Plate Dag


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IS THIS PROOF WHY . . . Mathew Brady was considered one of the finest daguerreotypists in the country in the mid-1840s? The young woman sat for her masterpiece, done on a sixth size brilliantly polished piece of silver in Brady?s gallery located at either 187 or 207 Broadway in New York City! (Admittedly, at a couple angles those buff strokes appear rather harsh but the over all effect when the intact leather case was opened speaks towards the spectacular)! No one has accurately determined when Brady first made daguerreotypes. I have done considerable research trying to pinpoint why and how Brady and Nathan Burgess apparently used nearly identical illumination (very advanced for the time period circa 1843) three or four books that they tinted, identical tablecloths and the same vase, sometimes with ” Burgess NY” printed on a small placard that was placed against the base of the pottery. That prop, overflowing with beautifully tinted flowers in this gal?s portrait, is identical to the earlier dags I have owned. Burgess was first mentioned as a daguerreotypist in 1843-44, located at 192 Broadway. Although he apparently studied the art initially in Paris, circa 1839. At about that same time, Brady opened his studio at 187 Broadway, five doors south on the opposite side of the thoroughfare. I suspect this subject was taken circa 1845. BUT, I must ask myself, was Brady really the cameraman? He might have already employed James Brown who could have been the operator. I must tell you all that even though THE VASE appears in slightly later identified dags made in Brady?s gallery there is always an outside possibility that Burgess created the work of artistic excellence. His advertisements in 1844-1846 included this phrase: ?photographic gallery of colored daguerreotypes?. Could the subtlety of the delicate tinting have been any more impressive? However it was the incredible capture of light that illuminated the lass in the shape of a narrow cone from high above her on the right that made the most vivid impression when I first admired her holographic gem. Patina is seen in a narrow octagonal line inside that perfect brass mat. Only that colony of mold mites mars the likeness. One latch of two is missing on the case that had a classic horizontal Grecian Urn theme on the front. The reverse was beveled and plain. In conclusion, I can?t say with certainty whom the daguerreotypist was but I can guarantee the next collector that a portrait could not have been more skillfully executed in 1845.