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Sixth Plate


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SKU: D16-169 Category:

INTENSE CONCENTRATION! Was he leaving for a three-year voyage on a whaling vessel out of Nantucket and he decided at the last moment to engage a local daguerreian to make this splendid sixth plate remembrance for his dear wife? That was one of many scenarios that raced through my head after the conservation was completed on this magnificent portrait that does have a slight wipe on one hand. A small window on the right was the source of brilliant illumination. A floor to ceiling piece of white cloth or a pale painted wall on the left softened any shadows. His eyes must have been sky blue or emerald green. The strength of his gaze is still very evident and compelling today. I wonder if he was humming a sea shanty while he sat for the operator? I made a second scan of the naked plate to show the gent?s weather beaten hands, stained by the tarred ropes he would have tugged on and cured by constant exposure to salt water and sun. The heavy SCOVILLS plate had typical narrow clipped corners and flat sides (relatively speaking) since the vertical pair were both crimped top to bottom as though a person was finishing the edge of a pie. That was a highly unusual preparation, but obviously the cameraman knew exactly what he was about. This likeness has outstanding tonality, depth and contrast. The tinting survived the silver being previously cleaned by someone else. There is also a nearly invisible tiny wipe on the seaman?s tie and jacket and a couple mat abrasions. The separated leather case was lovely light brown leather with darker brown rails. Inside a single large leaf was embossed on a puffy red velvet pad. The geometric design was most popular circa 1845 when the subject was taken.