Hiller family portrait
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- Materials and Techniques:
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The daguerreotype process was introduced to the public in 1839 by Frenchman Louis Daguerre, and was hugely popular as a medium for portraiture until the middle of the 1850s. To create a daguerreotype, a silver plated sheet was given a light sensitive surface coating of iodine vapour. After a long exposure in the camera, the image was developed over heated mercury and fixed in a common salt solution. The image lies on a mirror-like surface and is best seen from an angle to minimise reflections.
This family portrait shows Gustav and Julia Hiller and their daughter Luise.
The surface of daguerreotypes is delicate and easily damaged, so professionally-finished images were presented in a protective case or frame. This portrait is held in an elaborate painted and lacquered black case with a tortoise-shell inlay. The outside of the case has a floral design and gold-leaf edging.
Daguerreotype family portrait cased in an elaborate painted and lacquered case with floral design and mother-of-pearl inlay. Inscription of names on reverse of case reveal them to be Gustav Adolph Hiller, Julia Hiller and their daughter Luise. The daughter is a toddler and sits on her mother's knee while the father puts his arm around his wife. They are all seated, 3/4 length, facing the camera. There is no hand-tinting of this image.
Place of Origin
Materials and Techniques
Marks and inscriptions
Gustav Adolph Hiller, Julia Hiller and Luise Hiller
Height: 154 mm case, Width: 122 mm case, Height: 122 mm Image, Width: 88 mm image
Daguerreotype family portrait cased in an elaborate painted case with floral design and mother-of-pearl inlay. Inscription of names on reverse of case- Gustav Adolph Hiller, Julia Hiller and their daughter Luise. America, 1851.
Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)
Coe, Brian & Haworth-Booth, Mark. A Guide to Early Photographic Printing Processes. London: The Victoria and Albert Museum in association with Hurtwood Press, 1983.
Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection