British photographic history

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Hello! 

This is my first time using this site and i'd like to call on you lovely people to help me understand some items.

According to the sellers, the smaller daguerreotype (the single man) is from the 1840s and the one of the couple if 1850s. I was wondering if anyone would have any interesting information relevant to these two objects? Even if it's just some interesting facts about the process. I am a MA Photographic History student at DMU so I aim to learn!

Thank you,

Carys

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Hi, Carys,

From your pictures, the one on the left (single man) seems to be an ambrotype, rather than a daguerreotype, which would put it's date later than the 1840's.  Does it have a mirror like surface?

Hi, John Hannavy's book "Case Histories, The presentation of the Victorian Photographic Portrait" 2005 might give you some ideas on dating the cases.

I agree with David that case on left looks to be an ambrotype and therefore certainly not from the 1840s. The style  of pads and surrounds make them both appear to date from the 1850s. They may be American as opposed to British. It's always difficult without seeing the originals.

Best,

Ken J.

Thanks for replying Ken and David, the one of the single man is not reflective unlike the couple one which is reflective and mirror-like. Does that mean the single man is Ambrotype? It's always hard to trace the truth of these pieces of history and maybe I should bring them in to some kind of expert.

Thank you for your book suggestion Les, I shall endeavour to find it.


David McGreevy said:

Hi, Carys,

From your pictures, the one on the left (single man) seems to be an ambrotype, rather than a daguerreotype, which would put it's date later than the 1840's.  Does it have a mirror like surface?

The one on the left with the single man has an 1840s mat with an 1850s surround and case. It is hard to judge just from the jpeg as to what process it is. While it does appear to be an ambrotype more in keeping with late 1850s, I have seen some examined out of the case turn out to be daguerreotypes. The case, mat and surround were possibly added later.  It happens a lot. The other dag of the couple looks a bit more straightforward, and from the late 1850s from the mat, case and surround.  The cases look English to me, although American and British cases can be rather similar and were sold in each other's country.  Ambrotypes are on glass and Daguerreotypes are on copper plate with silver plated surface. Taking the item out of the case carefully should tell you that rather easily. Be careful not to touch the surface of daguerreotypes, which are extremely delicate and can be damaged easily.  If it's on japanned iron plate, it's a tintype

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