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4 February 2017

Fred's family XXII - daguerreotype & tinplates from mid-1800s

The first photo, top left, is a negative image on thin metal, backed by black paint, seen through glass. I'd guess this was around the 1840-'50s. Other are on a thin tin (see below), backed by black. These are probably the 1860s or '70s. The first photo always hung in a gold-tinted wooden frame at 98 Largewood Avenue, the home of Fred's brother, Albert.   This is a daguerreotype - the very first photographic process, used for two decades after 1939. To quote Wikipedia, "it is is unlike looking at any other type of photograph. The image does not sit on the surface of the metal but appears to be floating in space, and the illusion of reality, especially with examples that are sharp and well exposed, is unique to the process." It is viewed through glass. The illusion with the above is exactly as described here. There are no words to guide their identification - except, the bottom left photo is held against its oval cut-out card frame by a paper with 'Queen's LOWRIE Corner' printed repeatedly. A rapid search shows this would have been the photographer James Frederick Lowrie (also traded as Valery) possibly when at 184 Fleet St, 1877-84, or in Birmingham in 1882. He specialised in tintypes - the popular name for ferrotypes, made by creating a direct positive on a thin sheet of metal coated with a dark lacquer or enamel and used as the support for the photographic emulsion.

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