This daguerreotype shows the American artist Rufus A. Grider (1817-1900). Born into the Moravian community in Lititz, Pennsylvania, Grider spent most of his life in Pennsylvania – in Lititz, and then Bethlehem, where this daguerreotype was taken. Largely self-taught, he sketched and painted throughout his life, and the Moravian Archive in Bethlehem houses a collection of Grider’s Pennsylvania work, which includes watercolor landscapes and town scenes. Grider was also interested in horticulture and produced sumptuous floral studies in watercolor and gouache. An album of Grider’s floral studies and other work was featured in a 2004 episode of the television program, Antiques Roadshow. The subject of Grider’s drawing in the present daguerreotype is clearly botanical, and the drawing in his sketch book, as well as the floral arrangement on the table, are meticulously hand-colored.
In 1883, Grider moved to Canajoharie, New York, where he taught art and drew and painted extensively. Much of his New York work focused on historical artifacts, including carved powder horns and Native American clothing. The New York State Library, Albany, holds an extensive collection of this work.