John L. Tucker

Southworth and Hawes (American, active 1843–1863)

Albert Sands Southworth (American, West Fairlee, Vermont 1811–1894 Charlestown, Massachusetts)
Josiah Johnson Hawes (American, Wayland, Massachusetts 1808–1901 Crawford Notch, New Hampshire)
John L. Tucker
ca. 1850
33.4 x 41.3 cm (13 1/8 x 16 1/4 in.)
Credit Line:
Gift of I. N. Phelps Stokes, Edward S. Hawes, Alice Mary Hawes, and Marion Augusta Hawes, 1937
Accession Number:
  • Description

    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.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    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]"

  • Provenance

    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

  • Notes

    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."

  • See also