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Sixth Plate


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SKU: D2-47 Category:

CAROL?S FAVORITE! Talk about a wonderful portrait of a child! This moon faced urchin wore dusty, scuffed dark shoes, dark striped socks, trousers that were bagged at the knees like knickers and a long frock coat with 12 shiny buttons down the front for his visit to an unknown daguerreian?s operating room. The lad stood next to a colorfully tinted red and blue cloth that covered a small tabletop set on a solid highly polished column, which was attached to a wooden base. The child leaned on his arm resting on the studio prop. His left elbow was perfectly positioned so that chubby hand, with fingers slightly closed, dangled over the edge. The lad?s face was tilted. His expression was filled with trepidation and uncertainty, while he surely must have wondered what was about to occur. A worn grey felt hat with a ribbon accentuating the crown had been placed on his youthful head. The most remarkable feature about this incredible likeness, aside from the subject himself, was the small stick that he held in his right hand. While I think it might be fantasizing somewhat, this daguerreotype feels like the maker had a slow day and went outside his studio looking for clients when he saw this kid playing. After a brief conversation and inducement with a penny exchanging hands, the daguerreian brought him inside to make a character study. Really folks, no parent would have desired a likeness they paid for if their offspring was holding a slender branch! The patterned carpet was noticeable. The bottom of the dark grey cloth used to segregate the kid from any visual distractions created a solid dark line behind the innocent subject. Apparently a head brace was also used since two legs were visible. The golden tone below the tablecloth is actually a brown spot. A large mold spider grew near his elbow. There are mat abrasions in the oxidation that generally follows the shape of the double elliptical brass mat. The cover of the complete leather case was embossed with a dandelion in the center surrounded by filigree and wavy lines. The reverse was a herringbone pattern. Inside the faded red pad was embellished with a flowing fountain of water. I have always wondered if the child?s archivally resealed sixth plate pre-dated later photographers who worked with negatives and prints documenting the plights of children. The broad range of tones is simply astounding!