Latest Daguerreotype – Sisters by Van Loan, Philadelphia

A lovely 1/6 plate daguerreotype of sisters by Van Loan, with an extremely well preserved velvet pad. The dresses being identical made me think at first glance they were twins, but I’m thinking just sisters now, after seeing the plate in person. SistersVanLoanDag

This is the first plate I’ve re-sealed. The original seals were intact, but there was enough dust on the inside of the cover glass that I decided it was preferable to open, clean the glass, and re-seal with Filmoplast P90. I’ve dated and initialed the tape.

Never mind the dust…


This has to be about the finest daguerreotype I own, quality-wise. It was an estate sale purchase on an online estate auction site. When listed, the picture looked bad, but having seen enough of these, my intuition said, “the cover glass is just dirty”. I bid, and won.

Well, I was right. When it arrived, there was a lot of dust inside the cover glass. The original seals were present, but they were totally shot. I removed them, opened the packet, and BOOM! This is what I found underneath. I have since cleaned the cover glass and will shortly be re-sealing with films-last tape. The dust you see in the scan here is now on the outside. I’m in awe of the gentle hand-coloring you see in his face and hands, and the texture of his waistcoat. You can practically feel the silk just looking at it!

This is a quarter-plate dag in leather case, probably late 1840s or at the latest early 1850s.

Daguerreotype by Thomas Mimmo & Co, Baltimore

Anonymous Young Man by Nimmo

My latest acquisition: a daguerreotype portrait by Thomas Mimmo of Baltimore. Not only was this an absolutely gorgeous plate (from a quality standpoint one of the finest daguerreotypes I have), but having been a previous resident of Baltimore, it appealed on that mental association as well. Baltimore was the birthplace of my photographic interest, having learned it at Maryland Institute College of Art.

Anonymous Young Man by Nimmo
Anonymous Young Man by Nimmo

If you look carefully at the image, this was the scion of a wealthy family – not only did he get his daguerreotype portrait made, but he paid extra to have the buttons on his waistcoat gilded. The fabric of his waistcoat is exquisite, and his bowtie is immaculately tied. He was obviously someone who cared a great deal about his appearance.