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Sixth Plate


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SKU: D13-48 Category:

EXOTIC SISTERS. Agnes and Adrianna Pillsbury were very wealthy young women, who never, eve r were required to perform anything but rudimentary chores around their stately mansion. They lived their lives as princesses, with servants and attendants waiting for a command. They didn’t have to earn respect. They were born with it. Now was a time for coming out and being publicly displayed. Since the name Currier is boldly stamped in the center of the double elliptic al mat, I quickly examined two reference books. There were a couple plausible operators, John Q. in Lawrence, MA, 1851-54 and Benjamin G. in Sacramento, CA, 1854. When I purchased the resealed sixth plate I was told that it came from a California collection. The hairstyles and clothing the sisters are wearing is definitely from the mid-1850s. The nearly perfect, whole leather case (which seems original to the plate) has a medallion of flowers design, which is also from the same time frame. The mystery lies in one simple, visual fact. Why haven’t we seen more of Currier’s work? Forget the girls’ obvious, haughty attitudes and their seductive beauty for a moment. Just stare at the quality of the daguerreotype and the superb condition. Their jewelry is touched with gold, their faces and lips lightly rouged red and a splendid golden wash softly bathes them in a chocolate brown sheen. The illumination is a creation from the heavens and starlight seems reflected in their glistening eyes. The contours of the formal sofa mimic their softly rounded shoulders. As a slight breeze drifted through Currier’s studio, I bet he could smell their Parisian perfumes. I wonder if dared to approach them to brush a wrinkle on a sleeve. He probably would have asked their escort to perform the final arrangements. The Pillsbury sisters wouldn’t have been allowed to arrive at his studio without a chaperone. The daguerreotype surpasses 99.9% of all the small portraits taken!