Sixth Plate



171    Terms of Sale

SEVERAL CLUES. Although drapery and dramatic side lighting were seen quite early in the daguerreian era, when they were used in combination with razor sharp focus and a camera position further away from the subject then normally seen, all these factors usually suggested that a sixth plate was taken in late 1843. With the addition of a gold chloride application, which became popular by late 1842, daguerreotypes immediately had better contrast and an overall warmer appearance. The gent’s square face and his “forged out of iron” chin coupled with those laser eyes produced one of the most intense rock solid faces I have seen taken during the end of the experimental period! Superlative illumination and a broad reflector, set beyond the usual distance, but just close enough to provide reflected light in the shadows to visibly render some details in the darker regions, worked harmoniously to produce this amazing artifact. That outrageous bow tie matched the strength of the subjct’s broad pose, arms stretched akimbo, revealing a massive chest cloaked in darkness. Even the height of the lens was slightly lower them normal. The powerful fellow was rendered even more impressive. His daguerreotypist was truly a masterful maker at this juncture of his career. Outstanding contrast and reflected depth plus that lovely octagonal shaped paper mat added to the degree of excellence that was achieved. My record written in pencil on the archival seal noted that this was a very heavy “SCOVILLS” hallmarked plate. It had narrow clipped corners and flat sides. The intact leather case has a horizontal lyre motif on the cover, which was a precursor to a similar design that Mathew Brady used slightly later. The reverse was plain. Inside was a lovely green silk pad. Several brown dots are evident and there might be two small wipes on his face and jacket. Teeny mat marks (yes, paper can mar the surface too) and tarnish are visible along with mold spiders.

For Purchase Inquiry Contact:
Dennis A. Waters at