Early Man of Letters
Early 1840s sixth plate daguerreotype of a man holding a gilt object in one hand, and displaying a copy of The Ladies Companion, volume XII & XIII in the other, by Thomas S. Walsh, N.Y.C. In original period case with WALSH imprint on brass mat and imprint on case pad reading "Walsh 136 Spring Street, N.Y."
Image is crisp and in superb condition. There appears to be some red coloring applied to sitter's face and perhaps hands.
The gilt object held in sitter's left hand may be a watch or writing implement. The spine of book he holds has table has been carefully (and for the sitter's comfort, awkwardly) positioned towards the camera so as to render the title on spine clearly visible, and the daguerreotypist's chosen focus also seems to center on this point. Laterally reversed by the daguerreian process, the volume reads "Ladies Companion / Vol. XII & XIII", which was a publication of light verse and stories produced in New York City. This gent whose intense image peers at us from beside the displayed volume may have written for the publication or had some other connection to its production, such as editor or publisher.
The photographer Walsh is documented at 136 Spring Street during 1845 and 1846, according to Craig's Daguerreian Registry. However the image may well be somewhat earlier; its plate bears the early "HS" platemark which Rinhart dates 1843-45, and the numbers of the Ladies Companion which the sitter holds were published 1839-1840.