The Daguerreian Society


Today‚s post was meant to be posted on June 23 but somehow the day
slipped by me.  Rather than let this (somewhat anti-daguerreotype)
item sit until next year, I thought I would offer it a little late.

On this day, June 23, in the year 1855 the following appeared in
Ballou‚s Pictorial Drawing-Room Companion (Boston): 
 
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                      DAGUERREOTYPES.

   One reason why the daguerreotype portraits are in general so
unsatisfactory, may perhaps be traced to a natural law, though I
have not heard it suggested.  It is this: every object that we be-
hold, we see not with the eye only but with the soul; and this is
especially true of the human countenance, which in so far as it is
the expression of mind we see through the medium of our own
individual mind.  Thus a portrait is satisfactory in so far as the
painter has sympathy with his subject, and delightful to us in
proportion as the resemblance reflected through his sympathies is
in accordance with our own.  Now in the daguerreotype there is no
such medium, and the face comes before us without passing
through the human mind and brain to our apprehension.  This
may be the reason why a daguerreotype, however beautiful and
accurate, is seldom satisfactory or agreeable, and that while we
acknowledge its truth as to fact, it always leaves something for
the sympathies to desire.--Mrs. Jameson.
 
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Posted for your enjoyment.      Gary W. Ewer       
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06-23-95


Return to: DagNews 1995

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