Skip to content

Sixth Plate


Out of stock

SKU: D11-171 Category:

VERY DESIRABLE. Three lads and a man, who placed his elbow against that slender tree trunk, posed for an unknown daguerreotypist in a northern city sometime after 1850. The operator must have been skilled in his chemical methodology since he made an outstanding rapid exposure in low light. I can tell the lens was uncapped for a short duration because the boys remained almost motionless while their older companion used his stance to gain stability. Judging by the quality of the light, I think it was just about dusk. I’m getting frigid looking at those piles of snow alongside the rutted road that is wider than you might think. The camera’s placement was probably 50 to 60 feet away from the humans. A medium focal length lens was selected to make the archivally taped sixth plate. Architectural correctness was preserved and the foreground was somewhat compressed. If only there was a street number on the door above the brass mail slot. The million-dollar question of course is: Where was the location? Solid brick construction was done in many cities in the mid-19th century, although the way the wide wooden cornice juts forward and is higher than the bottom of the last layer of shingles is rather peculiar. Unless it is an optical illusion the end gables of the roofline are uneven with the back being almost twice as long as the front. The chimneys, to my untrained eyes, seem rather normal. The structure next door was built in a different fashion. I wonder which large dwelling owned the wooden shed in between? Another curious fact in the foreground is that pile of earth between the two heaps of snow. Was there some sort of excavation in the property across the street or could that dirt have come from the roadway? And while I have your attention readers, is that lighter toned horizontal object in the street one of two metal rails that was part of a horse-dawn trolley system? New York City did have that mode of transportation in several locations (in the city) by the end of 1852. This is a rare cityscape that deserves more research. There are small mat scrapes in the tarnish. The silver was heavily buffed yet the details are very exact. A leather case with a repaired hinge keeps the dag safe.