Sixth Plate



29    Terms of Sale

LET ME SAY . . . That John Plumbe and his operators strategically placed in east coast cities in the 1840s and even here in Exeter in the summer of 1841, consistently produced fabulous sixth plate daguerreotypes! As most of you know, I began collecting in 1985. I purchased this amazing child in the late 1980s and since then, I have attempted to acquire other dags of children by Plumbe that might approach the magnificence of this resealed masterpiece! I’m still looking! Notice the “PLUMBE” impression stamped on a diagonal in the lower right corner of the brass octagonal mat. In my experience, the smaller the imprint the earlier the dag was produced, circa late 1841 into 1844. The adorable little girl had a hesitant expression on her lips. Large eyes looking directly into the lens had reflections of light that superbly bathed the child in brightness. I wonder if the softness of her face was caused by slight movement or was that area naturally not sharp because of a lens aberration? American daguerreotypists quickly realized after their experiments in simply capturing any type of a cold gray shadow on a crudely polished plate had been successfully concluded that the process was a fresh and unique new idea! Yet, this remarkable portrait completely resembled a masterwork in miniature, either on ivory or paper. Comparisons can also be made to primitive painting done on canvas or board. The exceptional melding of two mediums was never presented any better. When I bought the likeness, the cover glass occluded the child’s visionary likeness by almost 90 percent. Although there are some spots in the tinting and mold mites caused by the flow of moisture that had accumulated, the professionally painted surface and the brilliance of the wide ranging palette of colors remains intensely lifelike today. Even the details of those white pantalettes were wonderfully drawn on the highly reflective silvery mirror. The patina tinted those slippers a lovely blue hue. Portraiture of such high caliber, done most likely in late 1843, rarely surpassed this stunning example! A complete leather case completes the presentation.

For Purchase Inquiry Contact:
Dennis A. Waters at