LIQUID OR POWDER? I am referring to what might have been inside the gold colored bottle situated on that rough wooden table next to a hardened young chap who had a dirk shoved into his pants. I suspect the shiny hue on the vessel either represented an amber elixir or a large amount of gold dust contained inside the glass. Either way, the tough young fellow was taken in a small space most likely a temporary location by a daguerreian who traveled the trails of the 49ers in search of clients like this subject. He was blasted by bright light that entered the area from almost directly behind the camera. The fact that the man’s head shadow is seen on the cloth backdrop indicated that he was seated within a foot of the material. Since the portrait taker took great care to embellish other components of his patron’s person and added tinting to his flesh, this would also suggest that the rawboned gent had extra money to spend! He might have struck it rich in the California gold fields and wanted a daguerreotype to send home to his family! The thin stamped brass mat, lined with cardboard stock was one style favored by Robert Vance in California. While I doubt that Vance was directly responsible for this archivally sealed sixth size piece, it might have been an operator funded by him or a person could have bought his supplies from a Vance Gallery in San Francisco, his earliest location, or later in Marysville or Sacramento. The illumination was ?blasted? directly onto the fellow and is reminiscent of the lighting used in the very earliest dags, circa 1839-1842. Since the operator didn?t even both to drape the tabletop with a cloth, this would have been another indication that his clientele wasn?t too discerning and they would have been delighted with any reproduction of themselves. Notice also the stains in the drop cloth. All of the spots are either tarnish or imperfections in the daguerreian?s pigments that have developed over time. The style of the thick red cotton shirt was favored by many of the miners who went west in search of their fortunes! A nice intact common leather case is provided to complete the marvelous adventurer?s daguerreotype!