Not on view

The invention of photography in 1839 revolutionized the practice of portraiture. The daguerreotype and its poorer cousin, the ambrotype, were well-suited to the seemingly contradictory goals of realistic representation and soulful content, as the English poet Elizabeth Barrett suggested in 1843:

"I long to have such a memorial of every being dear to me in the world. It is not merely the likeness which is precious in such cases-but the association and the sense of nearness involved in the thing…the fact of the very shadow of the person lying there fixed forever! … I would rather have such a memorial of one I dearly loved, than the noblest artist's work ever produced."

That sense of proximity to the subject was sometimes enhanced by pinning mementos, such as the lock of hair seen here, to the lining of the photograph's case.

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