Quarter Plate



D16-238    Terms of Sale

THE FAMILY HOMESTEAD. Let me begin describing this quizzical amateurish quarter plate outdoor scene by saying that there are some obvious quirks and also some unexplainable aberrations that make this piece so absolutely delightful! Well in my eyes at least. The owner of the structure stood near the front gate with his best friend lying in a heap at his feet. Inscribed on the copper side of the archivally restored daguerreotype was “Ketchum Ketchum and Cornelius Ketchum”! Sounds like a law firm but I suspect the gent in the dag was master Cornelius. Yes, I have already perused Craig’s Daguerreian Registry. Google search reveals many men by that name so . . . let me take a closer look at the fellow. And so begins the curiosities. He planted both feet firmly on mother earth and partially placed one hand inside his jacket, BUT his arm is clearly seen behind his back. A slight of “hand” or a cheap parlor trick you might ask? Moving over to the right, the handsome lad sat astride his mount. Predictably the horse moved while the lens was uncapped while his rider remained relatively stationary. That was NOT the shadow of the animal’s head on the white clapboards of the house. You might still be looking at that brilliant broad beam of light that traveled diagonally across the oddly polished silvery mirror. That was caused by a light leak in the camera’s leather bellows. The dag was taken in the first half of the 1850s and by then, very few operators were still using the wooden box within a box style camera. The additional brightness created that awesome natural azure hue. Maybe the daguerreian decided that more blue was better and added that tint to those shutters! Before visiting the three female members of the family on the porch, I wonder when the males in the family were going to repair those two slanting pieces of wooden fence. Although, they sort of follow the distortion of the architecture since the camera operator didn’t get the horizontal and vertical planes exactly correct to make this study! The woman on the right might have been holding an open book while her opposite number on the left stood with her arms outstretched. I will let you all decide WHY? The middle subject was complacently posed without making an effort to be demonstrative. I believe with nearly 100% certainty that a portrait lens was used to record the people and their place of residence. Hence the doubling of that chimney, the swirling leaves on the trees and the remainder of the visual escapades that weren’t intended to be seen! Actually the contrast and tonality are both very acceptable. Lots of teeny specks dot the surface along with mold spiders near the edges of the brass mat and a few scrapes along the bottom. The application of the gold chloride left tide lines in places, which further indicated that the person responsible for the plate wasn’t completely accomplished in the art. Those collective facts immediately attracted me to the magnificent effort! Casey has made a new leather hinge on the case.

For Purchase Inquiry Contact:
Dennis A. Waters at