The Mischievous Child
Sixth plate daguerreotype, anonymous American ca. 1850, showing a of girl with flowers seated impishly atop a chair. Housed in a full leather case with a period inscription in pencil behind image reading "Mary Harris gives this to her Aunt Julia". With applied hand-coloring in several colors to the bouquet. ( Inventory# ib768 )
This image captures a very fleeting moment in the daguerreotypist's studio. In his haste to capture the devilish expression on this child's face the photographer was not able to achieve an ideal range of contrast and the tonality of the plate is subdued, without bright whites or dark blacks. However, its interest far surpasses that of many more tonally regular images.
The pencil inscription in case is somewhat faint and has been darkened for readability in the scan. Accompanying the image is an old paper slip which appears to repeat the inscription, reading " 'Mary Harris gave this to her Aunt Julia.' (in reverse)". One rail of case is sprung, could be easily reglued.
Images and text copyright © 2001-2014 by Christopher Wahren Fine Photographs