SHOULDA SHAVED! Loyal followers of The Daguerreian Forum, published from 1992 until the Fine Dags website was launched in 1999, have heard me say that this particular style of ultra thin brass mat, lined with thick paper, was favored both in New York City by Mathew Brady’s gallery and in California where Robert Vance operated at several locations. I can’t tell you with certainty that either maker was responsible for the engaging elderly gent’s retaped sixth plate likeness. However, the operator who the subject hired was very competent! The focus was exceptionally crisp, revealing single strands of the fellow’s snowy mane and the whiskery hoar frost on his cheeks and chin. That jacket the man selected for this example of the art form was from an earlier bygone era. The checkered vest and neatly knotted tie could have been bought off the rack so to speak earlier in the day he visited his maker. Teeny highlights in the sitter’s blue eyes reveal that the light source was from above him on the right side. The room was filled with reflectors to soften any shadows. Aside from a miniscule dimple inside the mat’s oval shape upper left, the surface is surprisingly free of blemishes. Patina provides an additional palette of pleasing colors. The image is rich and reflective. Only the bottom of a very common leather case remains.