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Daguerreotype of a Choirmaster, probably Virgil Corydon Taylor (anonymous photographer), c. 1850's
Daguerreotype of a Choirmaster, probably Virgil Corydon Taylor (anonymous photographer), c. 1850's, sixth plate, American. , with black leather, mother of pearl inlay folio case.
Taking a leaf from the conventions of portraiture in contemporary paintings of the period, early American photographs often featured the emblems of the subject's trade as well as other valued personal treasures and family heirlooms to give the viewer a better sense of just who the "sitter" is and what is her/his station in life. We can tell that this gentleman is a choirmaster by the way that he proudly displays the tools of his trade: a tuning fork and a copy of "Taylor's Choral Anthems" (Boston, Massachusetts, 1850).
Virgil Corydon Taylor (1817-1891) was the author of the book seen in this photo. He was a very prominent American choral master and organist who also wrote "The Sacred Minstrel or The American Church Music Book" (New York, 1846). Despite diligent investigative research on the part of many scholars, no likeness of Mr. Taylor has ever been discovered.
That is, perhaps, until now…
Submitted for your consideration: The sitter for this daguerreotype has gone to great pains to make sure that the title of this book is quite visible and legible to the viewer. Could it be that the gentleman in this photo is actually Mr. Taylor himself?
Height is 3 1/2 in. (8.9 cm.), 2 3/4 in. (7 cm.) width
This daguerreotype's image is very clean and clear, with good lighting, contrast, and detailing. There's some nice hand-tinting, in particular on the sitter's face, hands, and shirt.
Common to this format, there's a ring of light tarnish tracing the opening of the gold-colored metal frame's mat on the dag's plate; it does not impact the dag's image in anyway.
The case is black leather fashioned as a bound-folio or book. Of special note is the cover which features mother-of-pearl inlays as part of an intricate floral motif, done in gold paint with some green and red tinting, as well as in the corners of the gold line border. On the spine is the title "Memento" which is printed in gold lettering and framed by an intertwining floral vine pattern, which ascends from the bottom of the spine. The back is plain leather outlined with a gold line border.
Considering its age, the overall condition of the case is quite good. However, typical of these type cases, the cover is detached from the case's body due to the leather hinge fold wearing away from heavy use. Very Good + Condition.
Item # 1607
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