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[Unidentified Woman in Nine Oval Views]

Southworth and Hawes (American, active 1843–1863)

Artist:
Albert Sands Southworth (American, West Fairlee, Vermont 1811–1894 Charlestown, Massachusetts)
Artist:
Josiah Johnson Hawes (American, Wayland, Massachusetts 1808–1901 Crawford Notch, New Hampshire)
Date:
ca. 1850
Medium:
Daguerreotype
Dimensions:
21.6 x 16.5 cm (8 1/2 x 6 1/2 in.)
Classification:
Photographs
Credit Line:
Gift of Edward S. Hawes and Marion Augusta Hawes, 1939
Accession Number:
39.22.4
  • Description

    This first photographic process invented by Louis Daguerre (1787-1851) spread rapidly around the world after its presentation to the public 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.
    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 "medallion" portrait of an unidentified woman is a rare example of a difficult technique in which a sliding plateholder patented by Southworth was used to take eight sequential exposures on the same plate. The cyclical arrangement of the sitter's face suggests the phases of the moon from "new" to "full," an effect accentuated by the carefully bisected black and white background.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Marking: Hallmark, BR: Doublé / J.P. (see Spirit of Fact #9, p. 153)

  • Provenance

    Edward S. Hawes, Alice Mary Hawes, and Marion Augusta Hawes, Boston

  • See also
    Who
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
268650

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