Albert Sands Southworth (American, West Fairlee, Vermont 1811–1894 Charlestown, Massachusetts)
Josiah Johnson Hawes (American, Wayland, Massachusetts 1808–1901 Crawford Notch, New Hampshire)
33.4 x 41.3 cm (13 1/8 x 16 1/4 in.)
Gift of I. N. Phelps Stokes, Edward S. Hawes, Alice Mary Hawes, and Marion Augusta Hawes, 1937
Not on view
The Boston partnership of Southworth and Hawes produced the finest portrait daguerreotypes in America for a clientele that included leading political, intellectual, and artistic figures. This first photographic process, invented by Louis Daguerre (1787-1851), spread rapidly around the world after its public presentation in Paris in 1839. Exposed in a camera obscura and developed in mercury vapors, each highly polished silvered copper plate is a unique photograph that, viewed in proper light, exhibits extraordinary detail and three-dimensionality. Only very rarely were daguerreotypes produced on this extraordinary scale--four times the size of the largest standard plate--and then, necessarily, for wealthy and important clients, such as John L. Tucker, host of the prestigious Tremont House Hotel in Boston.
Inscription: Framed. Inscribed in pencil on frame, verso: "Mammonth size // The camera that made this Hawes // daguerreotype came from N.O. La // about (?) 1857. It was sold to // Mr. Hawes by E. White - Dag stock // dealer of N.Y.C. for $325 instead // of 425 but he purchased $100 // worth of plates on him // plus. // As Boyer // Chgo 12-43 // [illegible]"
Edward S. Hawes, Alice Mary Hawes, and Marion Augusta Hawes, or Edward S. Hawes, Alice Mary Hawes, and Marion Augusta Hawes; [Holman's Print Shop, Boston]; I.N. Phelps Stokes, New York
George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film. "The Spirit of Fact: The Daguerreotype of Southworth & Hawes, 1843–1862," February 1976–June 1976.
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. "The Spirit of Fact: The Daguerreotype of Southworth & Hawes, 1843–1862," July 1976–December 1976.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. "The Spirit of Fact: The Daguerreotype of Southworth & Hawes, 1843–1862," January 1977–February 1977.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Camera and the Photograph: Images in Light," November 17, 1984–January 1, 1985.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Johnson Gallery, Selections from the Collection 8," March 14, 1995–June 11, 1995.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Photography: Processes, Preservation, and Conservation," January 30, 2001–May 6, 2001.
Stokes, Isaac Newton Phelps. The Hawes-Stokes Collection of American Daguerreotypesby Albert Sands Southworth and Josiah Johnson Hawes. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1939. fig. 14.
Sobieszek, Robert A., and Odette M. Appel. The Spirit of Fact: The Daguerreotypes of Southworth & Hawes, 1843–1862. Rochester: George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film, 1976. no. 17.
From Holman's journal, December 4, 1934: "I had such good success with a lot of the smaller dags. that I attempted the gigantic McKay plate [this plate was mistakenly identified as Donald McKay until June 1974] — and failed. It has all been improved except the face and a portion near by. I'll take it to Mr. Powers tomorrow." Holman took the plate to Powers on December 5 and writes in his journal on December 6: "The attempt Mr. Powers made to restore the McKay dag. was futile. It is in a bad way — so bad that I think I'll try again."