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Sixth Plate


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SKU: D16-69 Category:

GHOSTLY! And there she sat, those large dark eyes gently focused on a point beyond the window where brilliant light lit the lady when her archivally sealed sixth plate likeness was taken circa 1845. Or so I thought!!!! Certainly the brass mat without a preserver would strongly suggest that date. The amazing points of focus, the incredible moir� pattern on her silk dress and the addition of a pleasant palette of colors including the blue/green applied to the woman?s yarn ball, all worked so harmoniously to make the portrait an early masterwork on polished silver. Let me say that the subject?s face could not have been sculpted in marble with a better result. The daguerreian?s patron was so sensationally portrayed that it took me a minute to look at the gauzy skeins of light behind her. How was that done? While she sat remarkably rock solid the flow of bright and dark tones were almost surreal and rather sensual. Either by accident or clever design, this daguerreotypist made a monumental portrait! The daguerreotype was jammed into an English style leather case so tightly that I had to break two rails to remove the plate. I quickly discounted that object as original to the likeness and aside from one prominent deep buff stroke the silver was polished to an exquisite bright finish. I was almost struck dumb when I saw a ?Christofle? doubled stamped hallmark that the Rinharts reproduced as number 9 in their monumental tome, ?The American Daguerreotype?! A teeny portion is visible at the edge of the mat, lower right corner. Christofle was a French firm that ?apparently? began manufacturing dag plates in 1851!!! I retreated for a moment from my first date and thought, there is no way that the dag was a copy from an earlier original! The operator?s patron ?could? have sat in front of the camera slightly later I guess. Christofle might have begun shipping their wares to America earlier then the Rinhart date. I abhor dag conundrums! This is a doozy! Obviously the gorgeous gal was mishandled during the long life of the image. There are scratches above her head. To the left of those are green spots. Part of the haziness in the upper right above the tinted knit coverlet was caused when the silver was improperly gilded. The remainder of the white dots is superfluous. As an aside, my new scanner reveals specks and flecks even more vividly than the older model. I should tell you too, the depth is so deep that a walk around the woman is almost possible. I shared this stunning lady with Mr. Martin Kamer, a daguerreotype aficionado and fashion expert. He replied that at first glance he wondered if the dag could have been taken by Mayall or Kilburn in London. I mentioned that the superb polishing of the silver seemed all American to me and that the piece had been double silvered. Martin noted that Christofle was founded in 1830. The firm is still in business in France manufacturing luxury, high-end silverware and flatware. He also wondered that since the subject was seated propped up in that chair might she have been pregnant? Could that knitting have had a symbolic meaning? I thought she might have been an invalid and the image could have been done in her home. The most telling feature of this the monumental artifact was Martin?s dating of that splendid dress. He thought it would have been fashionable the first half of 1850! She resides back in the leather case that completes the mysterious package.