Elderly woman deceased thumbnail 1
Elderly woman deceased thumbnail 2
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
Request to view at the Prints & Drawings Study Room, room 512M , Case PX4, Shelf 2

Elderly woman deceased

Daguerreotype
ca. 1845-1855 (photographed)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

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. The unusual example of the 'double portrait', housed in one case of the elderly woman alive and deceased makes a powerful comparative pairing. The subject's resting pose of her crossed hands in the life portrait is intentionally and aptly echoed in the post mortem image.

Object details

Categories
Object type
TitleElderly woman deceased (generic title)
Materials and techniques
Sixth plate dagerreotype mounted in hinged wood embossed leather case
Brief description
Daguerreotype of an elderly woman, deceased, unknown photographer, ca.1845-1855
Physical description
One of two mounted daquerreotypes in hinged wood case covered with embossed leather. This image, on the left when case is opened, is of a woman with eyes closed wearing a sheer fabric bonnet with long ties fastened at the chin. Her arms are crossed.
Dimensions
  • Case height: 9.3cm
  • Case width: 8.1cm (Note: case closed)
  • Case depth: 1.8cm (Note: case closed)
  • Case width: 16.2cm (Note: case open)
Production typeUnique
Gallery label
Gallery 100: A History of Photography: Series and Sequences, 6 February 2015 – 1 November 2015. Daguerreotypes are one of the earliest forms of photograph, invented in 1839. They are unique, positive images formed on a sheet of highly polished and silvered copper. An early genre in photography used daguerreotypes to record people after death. The unusual example here also includes a portrait of the elderly woman alive. The subject’s pose in the living portrait is intentionally and aptly echoed in the post-mortem image. (03/02/2015)
Credit line
Purchase funded by the Photographs Acquisition Group
Subjects depicted
Summary
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. The unusual example of the 'double portrait', housed in one case of the elderly woman alive and deceased makes a powerful comparative pairing. The subject's resting pose of her crossed hands in the life portrait is intentionally and aptly echoed in the post mortem image.
Associated object
Collection
Accession number
E.642:1-2014

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Record createdJuly 17, 2014
Record URL
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