Skip to content

Express Wagon, Sixth Plate


In stock

SKU: D14-67 Category:

The sun’s slanting early morning (or late afternoon) rays that cut diagonally across the tableau and illuminated bits and pieces of this townscape. Before you all wonder and worry why most of the scene appears to be blurry and your mind is thinking, “even the buildings and that bright white picket fence seems to be doubled . . . was there an earthquake at the exact instant the view was exposed?” let me assure you the movement was in the hands of the daguerreotypist. Remember that all daguerreotypes were laterally reversed, left to right. Hence, “EXPRESS” painted on the side of that delivery wagon propelled by that sturdy steed, should have been backwards, unless this was a dag copied from the primary image, which it definitely wasn’t, or the camera operator was experimenting with a reversing prism that attached to the front of his lens. The camera’s position was slightly elevated above the most important part of the picture. Since the ground sloped upwards towards those substantial buildings, unless the man was very skilled and had complete familiarity with his devices, an accurate rendering would have been extremely difficult. As most of you have realized long ago, I am always attracted by experimental efforts, regardless of the date c1850 here). Rather than being frozen for posterity in a moment of time, the unsteady impression on silver accidently reveals unintended fluid motion. I would suggest that the prism wasn’t adequately secured. It doesn’t require much movement to see doubling in a dag. The dark skinned gentleman holding those reins may have been a freeman who owned a delivery service. The daguerreian used delicate pick work to embellish the tack and traces on the horse. While the deficiencies of unwanted movement, distortion and a loss of architectural integrity can’t be denied, the content and quirky nature of the dag completely reeled me into a purchase. The archivally sealed sixth size surface has marvelous contrast and deep reflected depth. Only those mat scrapes (from another owner’s careless handling) mostly within the patina mar the plate. In the background, a person stood near that white door behind the wooden enclosure. Another soul was partially silhouetted against the side of the second pale toned building. The complete leather case appears to have been original.