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Deceased young girl

  • Object:

    Daguerreotype

  • Place of origin:

    United States (probably, photographed)

  • Date:

    ca. 1845-1855 (photographed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Slighltly hand-coloured sixth plate dagerreotype mounted in hinged wood embossed leather case

  • Credit Line:

    Purchase funded by the Photographs Acquisition Group

  • Museum number:

    E.637-2014

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, room 512M, case PX4, shelf 2

The daguerreotype was the first form of photography to be announced to the world in Paris in January 1839. They are unique, direct positive images formed on a sheet of highly polished and silvered copper. The process flourished primarily for commercial portraiture and rapidly replaced portrait miniature painting as a record of a loved one and an intimate keepsake. Mememto mori or post mortem daguerreotypes are an important genre within early photography. High rates of infant mortality in the 19th century prompted grieving parents to commission photographers to make a lasting record of their deceased child. Children were often posed as if resting in bed, echoing the trope sometimes seen in sculptural funerary monuments of infant death as temporary sleep before afterlife.

Physical description

A mounted daquerreotype in hinged wood case covered with embossed leather with red silk inner pad. The image is of a child laying upon a pillow with eyes closed with arms at her side.

Place of Origin

United States (probably, photographed)

Date

ca. 1845-1855 (photographed)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Slighltly hand-coloured sixth plate dagerreotype mounted in hinged wood embossed leather case

Dimensions

Height: 9.5 cm case, Width: 8.3 cm case, Depth: 1.3 cm case, Width: 16.6 cm case

Descriptive line

Daguerreotype of a deceased young girl, unknown photographer, ca. 1845-1855

Materials

Copper; Wood; Leather

Techniques

Daguerreotype; Embossing; Woodworking

Subjects depicted

Memento Mori; Death; Children

Categories

Photographs; Death

Production Type

Unique

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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