Daguerreotype Portrait of Lucretia Mott, circa 1849

[No place: after Samuel Broadbent, circa 1849].

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Hardcover. Quarter plate daguerreotype. Plate size approximately 3¼" x 4¼". Portrait copied from the original daguerreotype that was taken by Samuel Broadbent. Mott is seated in a chair known to have been used by Broadbent and posed in front of his signature hand painted backdrop. The hallmark, a hexamerous figure 40 was usually seen in the mid-to-late 1840s; also use of wax on the reverse copper side of the plate, as seen here, was generally ended by the advent of the 1850s. The edges of the original double elliptical mat that was used to frame the portrait can be seen on the naked plate. This daguerreotype is housed in the bottom half (only) of a thermoplastic case (Krainik’s *Union Cases,* plate #41, “The Lord’s Prayer” design, produced by Samuel Peck and Company, probably about 1853). The daguerreotype could be put in a more felicitous and complete case, were it not for the obvious and identical offsetting from the case on the original paper seals that hold the plate, indicating that it has been in the case almost certainly since the 1850s. A sharp image with very slight spotting, and thus very near to fine, in a fine example of what remains of the incomplete case.

Daguerreotypes are by their nature unique and could not be exactly reproduced at that time. Anyone wanting a copy would have to employ another daguerreotyper to take a photo of the original, in effect a "dag-of-a-dag," which in turn could not be exactly reproduced. This image of Mott, although undated, seems to have been taken in the mid-to-late 1840s and then re-photographed no later than 1850. We could find no evidence or holding of this image and assuming the original to be lost, this likely represents a previously unrecorded image of Mott.

Presumably whoever owned the original Broadbent portrait decided to have it re-photographed no later then 1850, but was likely placed in this case a bit later, with the original brittle paper seals still intact and with offsetting on the bottom paper. Samuel Broadbent was an itinerant operator in the 1840s, in the American South, Hartford, Connecticut (circa 1846-1849), Baltimore (1849-1850) and Wilmington, Delaware (also 1849-1850). He later established a permanent studio in Philadelphia sometime in 1851. While it would be convenient to think this was taken in Mott's hometown of Philadelphia at that time, the physical characteristics of the plate seem to indicate an earlier date. One educated and informed source on early daguerreotypes speculates it might have originated in Hartford. At any rate, a rarity.


Item #439308

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Daguerreotype Portrait of Lucretia Mott, circa 1849. Samuel BROADBENT, after.
Daguerreotype Portrait of Lucretia Mott, circa 1849