The Daguerreian Society

On this day (October 22) in the year 1845, the following item appeared 
in the "Daily Republican" (Springfield, Mass. Vol. 2, No.481):
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  The Daguerreotype has been introduced into the Sandwich Islands.
  It is advertised in the Polynesian that likenesses are taken at $10 
each, and it is recommended that "the dresses of the sitters should 
correspond as far as practicable with the complexion."

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  The following report appeared in the October 1852 issue of "The 
Photographic Art-Journal" (Vol. 4, No. 4):
  --As we have not had time to visit the fair of the American institute, 
we engaged a gentleman well calculated to judge of the daguerreotypes 
there exhibited, to inspect and give us his impressions in regard to 
  He has sent us the following:--

  Mr. SNELLING--DEAR SIR,--Having paid several visits to the Fair at 
Castle Garden, I am induced to note down for the Photographic Art-
Journal a few remarks concerning the various specimens on exhibition by 
the Daguerrean Artists.
  There are not as many competitors for the prize this year as in former 
years, still the specimens exhibited evince much taste and skill, and 
plainly show that our art is constantly progressing.
  The pictures by Mr. Root who received the highest premium last year, 
are not any improvement on those which were exhibited at that time; 
indeed many of them are the same, which should not necessarily be the 
case, for the Art is certainly capable of great variety--we see the same 
beautiful conception of the old Arm Chair, which of itself is well 
worthy of credit--we should have been pleased to have seen also with 
this another, or more than one of this same class of pictures.
  Mr. Gurney has some specimens which reflect great credit on his skill 
and are such as will command the mede of praise from all the brethren of 
the Art, especially those of the largest size or double whole plate 
portraits; and if we mistake not, he will bear the palm of superiority 
this year at the final decision.
  The Brothers Meade, have greatly improved their style of pictures 
during the past year, and have placed themselves in the front rank of 
the profession; not only by their skill displayed in their arrangement 
of position, &c., but in their exquisite finish attained in the 
preparation of the plate, which is by far the most important feature of 
a good daguerreotype.
  They have also some new styles of shading, which they seem pleased to 
call "Rembrandt style."
  They are, of themselves worthy of favorable notice; and, although 
their customers may not be inclined to purchase such pictures, still 
they are varieties of the art, and tend to show the versatality of
  a true daguerrean artist.
  There will be a close competition, as indeed their should be, between 
such artists as the Messrs. Meades and Mr. Gurney.
  Each show their own peculiar style, and those that may be pleased with 
one may not be so with the other--thereby awarding to both the merit of 
pleasing all.
  In close proximity to Mr. Root's pictures, we observe some excellent 
specimens by Mr. Holmes of views taken at Greenwood.
  They are of themselves works of art, depicting the double art of 
sculpture and the art of Daguerre; appealing also the finer emotions of 
the heart--which is indeed true of all art--and bringing to our view the 
last resting-place of our near and dear friends.
  How appropriate then for us to possess copies of monuments which are 
so well executed by Mr. Holmes.
  Mr. Insley has also a frame containing some peculiar specimens of the 
  They are mostly executed with light backgrounds having the shadings 
very heavy--and show much skill in manipulating to produce such results.
  They are, consequently, pleasing specimens of the art.
  Passing along the upper gallery we observe some well executed 
daguerreotypes of Messrs. Brinkerhoff & Co., who, although they have not 
long been engaged in the business, nevertheless evince much skill, and 
show themselves masters of the art by the exhibition of some on the 
double whole size plate.
  Their style, however, is quite different from others--and that is a 
peculiar feature of this art; that each artist can display his pictures, 
and there will be such a marked difference, that to the eye of one 
acquainted with the various styles they each may be designated at a 
  We observe also some specimens of photography by Mr. Holt, which are, 
perhaps, equal to any before of this style, known as Talbotypes or paper 
  Still they are not such as please the public taste.
  The fact that all these pictures taken on paper, require so much 
retouching by the hand of the painter will never recommend them to those 
who value the faithfulness of a daguerreotype.
  These specimens of Mr. Holt are not any improvement on those exhibited 
by Messrs. Langenheim a few years ago, if indeed, they are so well 
executed, and we all know, that he was unable with all his facilities to 
enlist the energies of the daguerrean fraternity in the prosecution of 
that peculiar style of pictures.
  And such we fear will be the result of those who are striving to excel 
in this branch of the art.
  There is a field sufficiently wide in the daguerreotype itself to 
enlist all our energies, and there are many untrodden paths yet where 
those who persevere may excel, for the highest excellence is not yet 
attained in many of the beautiful processes known to our art.
  In connexion with this peculiar art we may mention the style known as 
"daguerreotypes in oil," on exhibition by Mr. Butler.
  They are indeed very fair specimens of small cabinet portraits in oil.
  But as far as being daguerreotypes with all the faithfulness so 
peculiar to them they are no more to be compared to them, than a 
rushlight is to the noon-day sun, from which our beautiful productions 
  Their whole beauty and truthfulness is destroyed by entirely covering 
the expression, as indeed the whole plate is painted over by the hands 
of the artist.
  There are a few others who have specimens, and such as would recommend 
themselves only to those who may want a very cheap daguerreotype.
  Of these, we have no word of praise nor indeed of censure.
  Their style is also peculiar as well as their price--and, graduated 
according to it, they are not indeed worth much more.
  There are some other artists who should not withold their specimens 
from the Fair who have in former years been foremost in the field, and 
we trust that such names as Brady and Lawrence and Beckers may figure 
more conspicuously in the Fair to be held next May at Reservoir Square.-
-Yours, &c.
  Since the above was written we have learned that Mr. Gurney has taken 
the gold medal prize of the American Institute.
Posted for your enjoyment.      Gary W. Ewer       

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