Lot 10
  • 10

Anonymous American Photographer

10,000 - 15,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Anonymous American Photographer
  • daguerreotype
quarter-plate daguerreotype, sealed, cased, 1850s

Catalogue Note

The daguerreotypes offered here comprise part of the second collection of cased images put together by writer and collector David Belcher, who sold his first collection to two prestigious institutions when he was still a college student.   A Massachusetts native, Belcher became fascinated by an ambrotype in a Philadelphia antique shop in 1961, when he was a teenager.  He began collecting cased images from that point on and continued his collecting activities into his college years; during this time, he was a frequent and enthusiastic correspondent with Beaumont Newhall, who encouraged his interest in the field.  In 1966, approximately half of his first collection of 30 to 40 daguerreotypes and ambrotypes was purchased by the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York, and the rest purchased later by the Library of Congress. 

Belcher attended Boston University and earned his B. A. from Suffolk University in 1969.  He received an M. A. in English literature from Indiana University in 1970.  From 1972 to 1977, he was a reporter for the Orange, Massachusetts, weekly newspaper, the Enterprise Journal, and he has written for the Daguerreian Society Annual, the Daguerreian Society Newsletter, the Antique Trader, and Yankee Magazine, among others.  His article 'Confessions of a Daguerreotype Collector Twice Over and Then Some!' (The Daguerreian Annual, 1990, pp. 118-20) recounts his passion for cased images and the acquisition of several of the daguerreotypes offered here.  

The present images were collected beginning around 1970, from a variety of sources, from flea markets to antique shops, from dealers to other collectors.  David has written,

'The driving force behind my collecting has been to seek and find the best daguerreotypes I could, lured by a love of their beauty and history.  It has been truly a labor of love.  I raced through a wild winter storm in 1976 to purchase the Caroline Parker Seneca Princess [Lot 16] from a noted dealer.  I lucked onto my Winsted, Connecticut, image [Lot 19] by buying a local auctioneer's collection in 1978.  I am especially inspired by the beautiful personal portraits and range of occupationals in my collection, taken with a sensitivity that only a daguerreotypist's highly detailed skill could convey.  This is the 49th year of my collecting, and I am proud to say that my life is far the better for it!'

The dog in this image has been captured with detail and clarity, a testament to the daguerreotypist's skill.  The dog's tail – which even in the best canine daguerreotypes is usually at least somewhat blurred – is rendered here with sufficient clarity that individual hairs can be made out.