In bequeathing to later generations a record of the faces of their ancestors, an entire class that had never before been able to afford portraiture was offered some small degree of immortality by the daguerreotype. That desire to preserve the memory of loved ones found poignant expression in the practice of postmortem photography, a final visual record of the deceased with the power to preserve the image of the mind's eye. Such daguerreotypes were seen as direct impressions of the deceased, as expressed on the label affixed to the verso of this example advertising "Portraits after death, death masks." This particularly theatrical postmortem is artfully composed so as to present the dead child bathed in heavenly light, the folds of white drapery suggesting the ascension of the soul while the surrounding room and watchful father are shrouded in mournful shadow. The engraved signature, "Le Blondel Lille," confirms that the artist considered this a significant work, no mere run-of-the-mill product.