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Sixth Plate


Out of stock

SKU: D13-165 Category:

“HARVEY BUELL”! That name was written on a small die stamped white business card and at the end of a four-line poem he probably penned himself. His resealed sixth size dag was remarkably primitive for having been taken about 1849. Brush marks are visible on his face and especially his shirtfront where the unknown maker applied white pigments to tone down the solarize blue that had occurred. Crude buff marks are also very evident. Buell rested his tall top hat upside down next to his arm on the table. I believe that there was a small piece of paper inside the hat, maybe the poem. On the reverse was written, “Died at Fon (sic) du Laac (sic) Wisconsin”. In “Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin, Past and Present” a gent by the same name was listed in 1847 as living in Oakfield, WS. Today Oakfield still lies just southwest of the city of Fond du Lac and has a population of just over 1,000 souls. Casey shared the naked plate with me because the “SCOVILLS” hallmark in the upper right corner was made by a die set that neither of us had previously seen. The letters were very different from the thousands of other examples by the same maker we had examined. Were those really drapes flanking Harvey or a clever arrangement of the itinerant’s backdrop? Bright light blasted him from both sides with equal intensity. He could have been in a tiny room, in a daguerreian wagon or more likely he was seated outdoors inside a crude tent. There are other flaws too, but I still think Harvey is worthy in a compilation of fine primitively produced daguerreotypes. Remarkably, the intact leather case has a nice plain red silk pad inside.