Sixth Plate



58 & D08-53    Terms of Sale

A.B. DOOLITTLE. One of the rarest identified very early daguerreians I have ever owned. The young fellow’s complete black leather case has an early horizontal LYRE motif on the cover and a worn plain back. Inside is a mint burgundy silk pad. I have made a comparison between this splendid fellow taken circa 1843 and a slightly earlier example of a pious man I own who was made late 1842 early 1843. Doolittle lit both men in a similar fashion, with his main light source coming from a small window on the left side. He used a large white reflector opposite (which is seen in the minister's earlier example). While the man of the cloth held his Bible and had a more dynamic pose, the younger fellow exuded power and self-confidence. I believe that the tablecloth in both images was the same. The difference in the backdrops is totally opposite. The minister was taken against an off-white cloth that had a pebbled or rippled surface while the teenager was framed against a darker plain cloth. His portrait shows outstanding wide ranging mid-tones, with a slight blown out effect in the whitest areas. The minister actually had richer tonality and better over all contrast. Doolittle's polishing technique improved somewhat from the earlier example to this one, but I would not say that he had completely mastered the art. The minister's flesh tones were slightly tinted, which was unusual for the very early period, while it is difficult to ascertain if the other gent had been tinted and the color was cleaned off during the life of the dag. The earlier fellow is kept in a leather case too.

For Purchase Inquiry Contact:
Dennis A. Waters at