3/4 plate daguerreotype, hand-tinted, in leather case and red velvet cushion

Untitled [portrait of an elegantly attired man and woman], 1852-1858

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Invented by the Frenchman Louis-Jaques-Mandé Daguerre in 1839, daguerreotypes were one of the earliest photographic processes. A daguerreotype is a silver-coated copper plate that is developed by mercury vapors after exposure of several seconds to light in the camera. The somewhat stiff facial expression of the sitter may be due to the long exposure. Often sitters were supported by a special stand to keep their heads still and prevent a blurry image.

Daguerreotypes are typically highly detailed with a reflective surface. Each one is unique because there is no negative as with film processes, and they were used almost exclusively for portraiture. To highlight their subject’s individual character and presence, Jeremiah Gurney and other daguerreotype photographers meticulously framed their photographs much like other intimate portrait forms of the day, such as painted miniatures, carved cameos, or silhouettes.

Untitled [portrait of an elegantly attired man and woman]
Artist Life
1812 - 1895
Accession Number
Curator Approved

This record is from historic documentation and may not have been reviewed by a curator, so may be inaccurate or incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@artsmia.org.

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3/4 plate daguerreotype, hand-tinted, in leather case and red velvet cushion