Lemuel Shaw

Photography Studio: 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, Alice Mary Hawes, and Marion Augusta Hawes, 1938

Accession Number: 38.34

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. Lemuel Shaw's imposing presence, sculpted by intense sunlight and gifted artistic vision, is a startling departure from the conventional posed portrait, customarily set in a studio and lit indirectly.

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