Ninth Plate



D07-199    Terms of Sale

DR. JOHN MERRITT. An exemplary example of experimental daguerreian portraiture circa 1841presents Dr. Merritt, who served as US Consul to Tunis in 1859. I received his letter of introduction, with all the appropriate embossed seals and inked stamps (in poor condition) along with other documents, including a one page testimonial stating his importance in the community as a doctor written by a member of the Vestry of Immanuel Church New Castle Delaware upon the occasion of his death in 1872. The hand cut heavy plate does not have a hallmark. The corners are square and the sides are flat. I removed the original gut seals and glass, which I used when a new archival seal was applied since it was not really damaged. I wanted to keep this particular plate, which is slightly larger than a ninth sized image, mostly as it came to me. The fingerprints on the left side were original artifacts. Merritt sat sideways on his chair and almost touched the plain backdrop with his head. While that seat is in adequate focus, the good doctor moved during the long exposure. Because he is situated so low on the surface, which is framed by a uniquely imprinted gold foil paper mat, I wonder if he wasn't the daguerreian himself? The plate was buffed in the traditional direction and circular polished as Daguerre suggested. The contrast is adequate. There is an overall cold grayness to the surface which most likely had a thin layer of varnish applied as the final step in the process before the package was taped. The plain red leather case has green velvet piping around him and a beautiful Aqua green plain silk pad. Gorgeous marbled paper was used in the bottom of the case. Dr. Merritt's magnificent daguerreotype not only was made during the dawning of photography, the provenance accompanying the image permits us to actually know more about the subject.

For Purchase Inquiry Contact:
Dennis A. Waters at