CURIOUS LIGHT. I know what the first thing most of you readers want to know: “Is that adorable kid deceased or simply taking a nap in his mom’s arms?” The marvelous sixth plate was sold to me as a post mortem, but upon very close inspection, I believe that the child is asleep. It appears that mother has even pulled up the lower portion of her dress to wrap around the cuddly baby, who is wearing a very ornate hat with folded ribbon over at least one ear. The woman does have a piercing eyes and a rather hard expression that might indicate that her bundle had passed on. What amazes me the most is the very structured illumination. When I used a loupe to examine the reflections in the lady’s eyes I was surprised to see strong broad light entering from the right, because it is quite obvious that even brighter sun rays struck her on the shoulder, along the left edge of her face and then danced across the gray backdrop. When I gazed at the babe’s glistening face and realized that a narrow cone was aimed on him or her from above on the right side, I began to appreciate the complexity. J.D. Marsh, boldly imprinted in the lower left corner of the resealed and lightly recleaned plate, is an unlisted maker. Mr. Marsh was certainly an accomplished artist for at least one image! The brilliant surface has a few mat abrasions and two teeny nicks in the drop. The reflected depth, contrast and tonality are all wonderful. Only the bottom half of the leather case remains.