Archive for the ‘Daguerreotype’ Category
Could this be a new discovery of an original Daguerreotype of the young Abraham Lincoln?
A newly discovered Daguerreotype was found by Justin Whiting of, Norwich Norfolk United Kingdom, could be a new photographic piece in Abraham Lincoln’s historic life story.
Purchased on Ebay from a power seller of Daguerreotypes Justin was sure it reminded him of someone. He’d been searching for an image like this for sometime. In his mind it could be no one else other than a young Abraham Lincoln!
Was it? Could it be? At a casual glance there is a good resemblance.
He set about the process verifying the image by asking American museums if they were willing to help identify the man in the image.
The Find: Justin has always had a great interest in finding photographs of famous historic figures from America. He was taking his daily browse through “carte de visite” or visiting cards on eBay but got distracted by some daguerreotypes. He saw an interesting picture titled “1/6 daguerreotype tinted blue 1840’s”. Justin purchased the item from the e-seller ‘salvatorparadise’, on 29/06/2011 for about $140.
The Daguerreotype showed an extremely tall man in a fine suit. He did a some research and found matching physical details to Abraham Lincoln, like the height and body build, the way his eyes sat differently. In the reference photographs Justin noticed Abraham Lincoln has some defining features like the large bump on his right cheek, his left eye socket was higher than the right. These all matched, even his nose and lips. Abraham Lincoln had a thin top lip and a fat bottom lip, the same seemed to be the case in the Daguerreotype.
He went on to discover other matching features such as Lincolns very different ears, the left side was slightly higher then the right. He also had other features such as his jaw buckled in, on the low right side and his right eye drifted towards his nose, the condition was called ‘strabismus’. It was these matching features that made him believe he was looking at a Young Abraham Lincoln. The final clue was the suit he was wearing, which was completely in keeping with Lincolns occupation as a Lawyer..
The stormy faced scholar. At the same time there was an auction going for another daguerreotype by the same seller which he missed but managed to contact the buyer. This second image appears to be a younger Reverend Owen Lovejoy 1840. “’stormy faced scholar”. He contacted the buyer who was a bit reluctant to sell it as it had been cleaned at a considerable cost. After haggling on the phone Justin managed to obtain the photograph as well. He already knew Owen Lovejoy was a dear friend to Lincoln and that he used to read the bible to Lincoln regularly at his home. The photograph was not in the best of shape even after it was cleaned as the seals are missing. This meant it had oxidised and darkened slowly over time. The facial features are still visible as is the hairline which seems to be a very accurate match to Reverend Owen Lovejoy. The open book in the photo which symbolises the bible as it an open book. Justin believes he is making a statement that this is his passion, he is a reverend and a preacher of the bible.
American’s uninterested. After buying both daguerreotypes Justin contacted some museums in America to present his findings. He was excepting some very positive responses. Instead he was shunned by one museum saying it was not Lincoln and looked nothing like him. They offered no further explanation other than “his hair looks ridiculous”. He soon realised It was not going to be easy, the American museums was very dismissive. with attitude of, here we go another picture claiming to be Lincoln, “we get loads” they said.
Undeterred Justin decided to hunt for someone who can offer a more scientific investigation to match the facial features. The scientific road now appears to be the only answer. He has started proceedings with the facial recognition process. He asked me to help put this blog together to the message out there if anyone can help.
A personal opinion – Why i featured this on my blog?
I feel this is him based on what i can see and line up in my software. The most interesting for me is the ear print match. Ears are unique or so The National Training Centre for Scientific Support to Crime Investigation NTCSSCI says “no two ears are exactly the same”. The ear print for me is the clincher.
Sources Ear prints – http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/246713.stm
In order to make a daguerreotype, iodine fumes are used to react with a silver-coated copper plate to form light-sensitive silver iodide. The plate is then exposed to light using a box and lens or camera and the image developed using mercury fumes, before being fixed in a warm solution of common salt. This was quite a lengthy process and the exposures were very slow, as plate was not that sensitive to light as we know photography today. The daguerreotype process was very popular during the first half of the 19th century, is was soon after replaced with faster and less complicated but safer techniques.
Old Daguerreotypes had to be protected by a glass font and sealed to prevent the image getting damaged, The image itself is a thin coating of deposits on the copper plate and can easily be ruined with a simple finger touch. Think of the image rather like candle soot on a glass tile, a very fine power that can be smudged with the lightest of touches.
I recently restored a Daguerreotype for a customer of mine.
Several scans of this beautiful little old Daguerreotype were needed. It measured around 5 centimeters tall and was encased in a red velvet and brass case, with a glass sealed glass panel protecting the image. The scans were combined to give the best image to start the restoration process.