The Photographer Reading
English sixth plate daguerreotype, self-portrait of the English amateur photographer Richard Dykes Alexander and wife in a posed genre scene, 1840s. Housed in a morocco-leather case. ( Inventory# ed60 )
A remarkable early daguerreian scene, by a photographer who has also left us with a significant body of salt and albumen prints. Both Alexander and his wife hold the letter while the photographer reads, perhaps aloud. The sitters unusual clothing is not staged but reflects Alexander's background as an English Quaker.
The plate is overall in excellent condition with some imperfections which reflect the "home-brew" and exploratory nature of Alexander's work. There is a small scratch in the area of woman's shoulder and some scattered copper specks about the middle of the image, mat abrasions at edges.
Provenance: Sotheby's, London, June 28, 1978; Christie's South Kensington, May 8, 1998.
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