Sixth Plate



D4-110    Terms of Sale

A RARE PORTRAIT! An outstanding very early sixth plate likeness of a young girl. She wore a black-scooped dress. Long, thin, dark ringlets gently caressed her bare shoulders. Her hands might have been folded in her lap, but they were hidden from the lens since this was a tight bust shot. The attractive child turned her head slightly off-center. Deep, shadowy eyes peered almost directly at the camera. Her thick lips were firmly set during the lengthy exposure that might have lasted 15 to 30 seconds. There was softness overall for two distinct reasons. Since the gal was part of an experimental portrait from the very early period, circa 1842, the lens elements weren’t perfectly manufactured and she undoubtedly moved while the lens was uncapped. Yet there are exceptional (for this date) details in her curled hair and the folds of her dress, because the illumination was created by a professional master of light and shade. Light bathed the lovely lass from the left and I suspect the shadows were minimized by a white wall or reflector near the sitter. The brilliance of this resealed, heavy plate can't be overstated. The hallmark is Corduan & Co. NY. Three of the sides, which were all flat, have been cut down and the corners were square. I believe the brown tones are due to multiple chemical sensitizations that are heightened by encroaching tarnish, which is quite broad inside the gold gilded, rectangular, paper mat. There was heavy shellac or varnish covering the surface (something I have noticed on almost every very early plate that doesn't appear to have been gilded). A wide perimeter band plate holder secured the piece inside the camera and the surface was heavily buffed. The very early, transparent, gut style tape formed the original seal. The broken leather case was hinged at the top and has rectangular lines on the cover. There are two types of flowers in each corner and the reverse has the smaller flower in the corners and no lines. The pad is purple silk.

For Purchase Inquiry Contact:
Dennis A. Waters at