Tag Archives: Daguerreotype Exhibition

Premiums awarded at the 1853 New York Exhibition Of The Industry Of All Nations

Part 5.

The premiums awarded at the 1853 New York Exhibition Of The Industry Of All Nations was published in the January 20, 1854  New York Daily Tribune.  

The [1853] Exhibition At The Crystal Palace.  Official Awards of Juries.  Jury F.  Class 10.  Philosophical Instruments And Their Products….

Whipple, John A., Boston, Massachusetts—Silver Medal—for Crystalotypes a new art.  Butler, Alexander.—Bronze Medal.—for several excellent Daguerreotypes.                         Brady, Mathew B., New-York City.— Bronze Medal.—for uniformly excellent Daguerreotypes.                                                                                                                                       Harrison, C. C., New-York City.— Bronze Medal.—for Camera.                                                 Hesler, Alexander, Galena, Illinois.— Bronze Medal.—for several beautiful Daguerreotypes.   Lawrence, Martin M., New-York City.— Bronze Medal.—for excellent Daguerreotypes, particularly “past, present, future.”                                                                                                         Root, Samuel, New-York City.— Bronze Medal.—for fine Daguerreotypes.

1854 January 21.  New York Daily Tribune.  (New York, New York.)  January 21, 1854, Vol. XIII, No. 3,982, P. 3.

The [1853] Exhibition At The Crystal Palace.  Official Awards of Juries.  Jury F.  Class 10.  Philosophical Instruments And Their Products….Honorable Mention.

Gurney, Jeremiah.  New-York City, for fine Daguerreotypes.                                                  Harrison & Hill.  Brooklyn, for Daguerreotypes.                                                                                 Long, E.  St. Louis, Mo., for an exquisite Daguerreotype of a lady.                                          Meade Bros.  New-York City, for Daguerreotypes of “Seven Ages of Man.”                          Moissinet, Dobyne & Richardson, New-Orleans, for Daguerreotypes.                                      North, W. C. Cleveland, for Daguerreotypes.                                                                                      Peters Otis F. sic [Otis T.], New-York City, for Stereoscopes.                                                            Root, M. A., Philadelphia, for fine Daguerreotypes.                                                                    Whitehurst, J. H., Baltimore, for fine Daguerreotypes.

Additional descriptions of the daguerreotype exhibit at the New York Exhibition Of The Industry Of All Nations

Part 4.

On September 2, 1853 published in the Semi-Weekly Tribune the following addition is added to the description of the exhibit published on August 19th. (in yesterday’s post.)  Two items worth mentioning Samuel Root was not mentioned in either article and second is more of an asterisk The Crayon Daguerreotype was invented and patented by John A. Whipple in Boston, Marcus A. Root purchased the patent rights when he was in New York and transferring the right to his brother Samuel but he continues to make Crayon’s in Philadelphia and in Washington, D. C.

In our notice of the Daguerreotype department, some days since we omitted to notice the collection of Messrs. Meade Brothers.  This was purely an act of inadvertence on our part, that collection having escaped our attention in the multitude of exhibitors’ cases.  We hasten to remedy this omission by noticing them here.  Taken as a whole, the collection of Mr. Meade is fair, their being great variety in the display, and some pictures of merit.  The portrait of Daguerre, in this collection, is the only one of the kind in this country, having been taken by one of the exhibitors when in France, in 1848.  Shakespeare’s “Seven Ages” are illustrated on as many plates, taken from life.  The earlier picture of this series are better conceived than the later ones, especially those representing the Soldier and the Lover.  The Meade’s have also a number of heads on the largest sized plates; some Daguerreotypes colored to resemble miniatures on ivory; and what are termed by them Instantaneous Daguerreotypes.  These do not possess any remarkable merit.  We perceive in Brady’s collection some well selected heads, among which are two of President Pierce and one of Lieut. Maury.  M. A. Root has a large and respectable collection now on view, among which are many specimens of his Crayon Daguerreotypes.

Part 5 premiums posted tomorrow 5/26/18

Introduction to the Daguerreotype Exhibit of The New York Exhibition Of The Industry Of All Nations

On August 19, 1853 in the Semi-Weekly Tribune the following introduction to the daguerreotype exhibit of the New York exhibition of the industry of all nations can be found.

The Exhibition At The Crystal Palace.  XVI.  American Art—Daguerreotypes.  If there be any one department in the whole building which is peculiarly American, and in which the country shines prominent, it is in that of Daguerreotypes, which are exhibited below stairs; and the collection, which is an extensive one, is made up of contributions from almost every section of the Union where the art is practiced.  In contrasting the specimens of art which are taken herewith those taken in European countries, the excellence of American pictures is evident, which is [to] be accounted for by several reasons.  In the first place, American skies are freer from fogs and clouds—from bituminous coal not being much used, the atmosphere of our cities is free from smoke, at least upon the Atlantic coasts.  Then the chemicals and processes are, generally speaking, of a more sensitive character, and the apparatus is more convenient and suitable than that of Europe.  Our little inventions come into play and aid in saving time and developing a good picture, and last, though perhaps not least our people are readier in picking up processes and acquiring the mastery of the art than our trans-Atlantic rivals.  Not that we understand the science better, but the detail of the work is acquired in a shorter time by us, while the enormous practice which our operators enjoy combines to render the daguerreotype art a necessary adjunct to the comfort of life.  Does a child start on the journey of existence and leave his “father’s hall” forthwith the little image is produced to keep his memory green..  Does the daughter accept the new duties of matron, or does the venerated parent descend into the grave; what means so ready to revive their recollection?  Does the lover or the husband go to Australia or California, and not exchange with the beloved one the image of what afforded so much delight to gaze upon?  The readiness with which a likeness may be obtained, the truthfulness of the image and the smallness of cost, render it the current pledge of friendship, and the immense number of operators who are supported by the art in this country shows how widely the love of sun-pictures is diffused.  Several thousand industrious artists and artisans are occupied in the preparation of very pure chemicals, as bromine, iodine, gold salts, hyperphosphate of soda.  Another class prepare silvered plates, cases, buffs, gilding, cut glass, and a hundred little addenda.  Then the manufacture of cameras and the grinding of good lenses is an important branch of the business; for without a camera having good lenses the best operator would fail to produce an image which would be distinct or saleable; and even with a good Voigtlander or Harrison camera, it requires great skill to focus the image; for, strange as it may appear, the point where a good view of the sitter is obtained is not the point best adapted for bringing out a good picture.  In other words the focus of vision and the focus of chemical action are not the same, and hence when we have the one we lose the other.  This is owing to the fact that it is not the rays of color on the solar spectrum which produce the image, but a different set of rays, viz: those of chemical action; and since this is the case, we submit the opinion that it is not possible to obtain a daguerreotype in its natural colors, as Mr. Hill and others have been trying to delude our operators into believing, and leading themselves and others by the [iguis fatuus] of plates tortured into iridescent colors by chemical oxidation.  But we are getting discursive upon this beautiful art, which was intended to subserve many other useful purposes than that of portrait painting.

Everybody known how difficult it is to keep silver from tarnishing, and that the action of the light is to destroy all preparations of silver.  Some of these are more readily acted on by light than others—are more sensitive, as it is termed.  Such are the iodide, bromide, and chloride of silver.  These salts cannot be kept exposed to the light for any reason, even a very short time, without undergoing some change; and when a plate of silver has a thin layer of iodine and bromine on its surface; and is placed in a camera, as soon as the screen is raised the image of the sitter falls on the plate.  The silver plate is acted on unequally, producing the effects of light and shade when brought out, as it is termed, by exposure to the vapor of quicksilver.  It is then fixed or prevented from undergoing further change, by washing it with a solution of gold.

To produce a daguerreotype picture there are five operations necessary.  The first is cleaning the plate.  This is the stumbling block of most operators.  They are not cleanly enough.  Several views in this Exhibition show that the plates were not well enough cleaned.  Never was a maxim more true than the old one, that “cleanliness is a virtue”—when it has reference to daguerreotyping.  The second the second is the foundation of the sensitive iodide of silver over the surface of the plate.  The third is the adjusting the plate in the camera obscura, for the purpose of receiving the impression.  The fourth is the bringing out the photographic picture, which is invisible when the plate is taken from the camera.  The fifth, and last, is to remove the excess of sensitive coating, and thus prevent that susceptibility to change under luminous influence which would otherwise exist and ultimately effect the picture.  The second operation is that which gives tone and warmth to the picture, and when performed by skillful hands makes a daguerreotype a beautiful piece of art.  The clearness and distinctness of the image is produced by the third process when carefully conducted, and the whole picture should be distinct over the whole plate.  These remarks will serve to illustrate the subjoined notes upon the collections in the Exhibition.

Part 3 description of the exhibit posted tomorrow 4/24/18

Francois Gouraud

An early account of Francois Gouraud’s daguerreotype exhibition in New York City.  There is no mention of Gouraud in the article, but there are enough clues to verify that its his exhibit that the writer is talking about.

Recorded on  February 1, 1840 in the Maumee City Express (Maumee City, Ohio.)  The following account of that wonderful invention by which the vestal Nature is wiled from her seat, and made to become the painter of her own fair form; by which Art is constrained to leap from her pedestal and lay herself on canvass, without the intervention of the painters skill; and even the frowning thunder-clouds of Heaven are forced into the hardness, and made to draw—their own portraits, however un-pallette-able it may be to them, is from the Providence Journal.  The exhibition spoken of is in Chamber’s-street, New York.

The Daguerreotype.—I visited this morning the exhibition of pictures produced by the Daguerreotype, and propose to give some account of them, which although imperfect, may still interest those who have never seen them.  The collection consists of more then twenty specimens of different sizes, by measuring generally six or seven inches high, by four or five wide.  Each plate is surrounded by a wide margin of drawing paper and is framed and glazed.  They are displayed upon desks, but may be taken to the light and examined at the pleasure of the visitors.  The greater part of them represent certain views in the city of Paris; the rest, groupings of still life, formed apparently in the studio of M. Daguerre.  The reader may obtain a tolerable idea of the general effect of these pictures, by imagining them to have been painted with some delicate silvery pigment upon a metallic mirror of the most even and highly polished surface,–this surface itself being left untouched for the darks and the greater or less brightness of the pigment indicating the various gradations of light.  The protogenic process is indeed similar to this.  It is only the lights of the object which act upon the prepared plate, and produce that infinitely thin deposit of silver grey mineral which by its greater or less accumulation forms the picture.  The dark parts of the object produce no chemical change at all upon the plate, and therefore the corresponding parts of the representation at the end of the process, appear entirely untouched, and when the picture is held at a particular angle show the bright polish of the naked metal, all the rest of the surface being dull and clouded.  This explanation I am aware, is obscured, but I give it, because it is upon this point that those who have never seen protegenic drawings are most curious.  Their general effect is in truth so peculiar it cannot be easily described by any familiar comparison, and must be seen to be comprehended, I may add here, that contrary to what might be supposed, these untouched parts of the plate, except when seen at the particular angle mentioned, do not appear bright and polished but form the dark and well defined shadows of the piece, and give it a depth of tone equal to that of any mezzotint or India ink drawing.  It may be seen also from this, that the lights and darks of the object are properly represented without being reversed as many believe.

There has been no exaggeration in description of the beauty of these Sun-paintings.  They reflect Reality so exactly that it is absurd to criticize them.  If you play the critic you must go beyond these images and find fault with the architecture of a building for instance, or the haziness of the atmosphere—matters over which the view-taker has no control.  He is the servant of Truth.  There is nothing inserted in his productions for effect.  You have a reliance in their perfect fidelity to the real, which introduces a new element into the feelings with which you have hitherto contemplated imitations of the outward world.  They bring you nearer to the originals than any representation by pen, pencil, or world of mouth has done before.  Here, for example, is that most beautiful of river views—the Seine, with its bridges, the celebrated façade of the Louve, and in the distance the antique towers of the Palais de Justice.  Here is the equestrian statute of Henry IV, upon the Pont Neuf.  It was taken soon after a shower, for you may see the rain-puddles upon the pavement.  Here is a side view of Notre Dame with every interstice of the stones faithfully represented.  How exquisitely penciled is that beautiful rose-window with its delicate tracery!  The most patient draughtman might work for months and fail to draw what this instrument has produced in ten minutes.

On another plate we have the Quai St. Michael and its book-stalls, on the other the glorious tower of St. Jacques de la Boucherie, starting up from a confused assemblage of houses.  The distance looks dim and indistinct, as in the reality, but even here a magnifying glass like a telescope, brings to view a lightning rod several miles off.  In one respect, however, this is not Paris.  Here is every stone and brick, but where are the people? the lively, restless people, which in the real Paris add a new charm to this gray and time-worn architecture, by placing beside its venerable immobility the contrast of man colored, ever-changing life!  Here, upon the bridge, is the umbrella of the old fruit woman, but where is the good woman herself, in her lofty Normandy cap?  Here is the long extended book-stall, but where is the dirty-faced, obsequious gentleman who tends it, and is at your side, usually, before you can turn a leaf of one of his dilapidated volumes?  Here are the muddy streets, but where is the grisette, with her smoothly-parted hair and dark eye—picking her way from stone to stone so nicely that not a spot appears on her well fitting stocking?  We mise the bonnes, too, and the gens d’armes, and the cabriolets, and the thousand and one sights which make this the gayest city in the world Paris, perhaps, has turned Protestant, and, this being Sunday, every body stays at home.  At any rate, the only human being visible, in these triste views, is an idler sitting upon a bridge.  One would like to know the name of this individual.

The most gratifying part of this collection to the artist must be its picture of still life.  Here the genius of the painter has come in and dignified, by his power of combination and composition, the servile fidelity of the Photogenic art.  M. Daguerre has himself arranged the materials for some of these paintings.  They consist of plaster casts, medallions, articles of virtu, cut glass vessels, shields of metal, tankards, engravings; and other articles, most gracefully grouped and relieved by a drapery falling in thick folds, which in many of the pictures is nothing more or less than a—Marseilles bed-quilt.  I can hardly describe the general effect of these works better than by comparing them to the most exquisite cabinet paintings of the Dutch school.  They differ, of course, in being entirely without color, but those readers who have seen, for instance, the celebrated “Evening School,” by Gerard Dow, at Amsterdam, may imagine pictures infinitely more delicate in execution than this, and exhibiting quite as beautiful contrasts of light and shadow.  This same Gerald Dow, who spent five days in painting a lady’s hand and copied objects from their images in a concave mirror, has produced nothing where the chiar ‘oscuro is more beautiful than in these drawings, and where the gradations of shadow are, as it is technically termed, fused so exquisitely.  They differ from all other pictures in this—that they show no marks of graver or pencil, or lines, or dots, or any thing which reminds one of a mechanical process.  They are images almost as pure as reflections in a mirror, and yet in the representations of the small plaster casts you trace the marks of the juncture of the moulds; you distinguish the peculiar cottony look of the quilt from the semi-transparency of the muslin drapery—the engravings from the oil-paintings, the clear glitter of the cut-glass from the metallic brilliancy of the shield and tankard.