The 
Daguerreian Society


During the month of July, in the year 1839, the following extract 
appeared as part of an article in "The American Journal of Science and 
Arts." (New Haven) Vol.37, No. 1 (July 1839) pages 169-170).  Three 
articles related to photography appeared in this issue, the last being 
the eyewitness account by Sir John Robison, which is available on The 
Daguerreian Society website at:
   http://www.daguerre.org/resource/texts/perfect.html
- - - - - - - - -


                     MISCELLANIES.
                 DOMESTIC AND FOREIGN

   1.  Pictorial delineations by light;  solar, lunar, stellar, and 
artificial, called Photogenic and the art Photography.
   Remark.--The great interest excited by this subject induces us to 
postpone the greater part of the miscellany which we had prepared and 
even set up for the present number, that we may make room for general 
notices from foreign Journal--detailing the history of the processes as 
far as known, and the most perfect state of the art, as far as it has 
gone.

              I.  Photogenic Drawings.*

[paragraphs 3 through 6]
. . .But in the meanwhile M. Daguerre, it appears, struck by some hints 
he had received from a friend, has steadily pursued his experiments for 
the last twenty years, and having at length attained his object has 
declared his discoveries and claimed the invention as his own.  Full 
and satisfactory descriptions are promised by M. Arago and two other 
scientific engineers appointed to report on the subject, and in the 
interval a slight outline has been given in the French papers, from 
which the following account is taken.
   A polished metallic plate is the substance made use of, and being 
placed within the apparatus is in a few minutes removed and finished by 
a slight mechanical operation.  The sketch thus produced is in 
appearance something similar to aquatint, but greatly superior in 
delicacy;  and such is the extraordinary precision of the detail that 
the most powerful microscope serves but to display the perfection of 
the copy.  The first efforts of the inventor were directed towards 
architectural subjects, and a view of the Louvre and Notre Dame are 
among the most admired of these engravings.  In foliage he is less 
successful;  the constant motion in the leaves rendering his landscape 
confused and-unmeaning;  and the same objection necessarily applies to 
all moving objects, which can never be properly delineated without the 
aid of memory.  But in the execution of any stationary subject, 
buildings, statues, flowers, the leaves of plants, or the bodies of 
animals, the fac-simile is perfect;  and the value of the invention may 
therefore be easily conceived.
   Several eminent artists have examined the designs, and were equally 
delighted with the precision and delicacy of the representation.  Among 
the sketches exhibited by the projector was a marble bas-relief and 
plaster imitation;  the first glance was sufficient to detect the 
difference between these two;  and in three views of a monument taken 
in the morning, noon, and evening, the spectators easily distinguished 
the hours at which they were executed, by the difference of the light, 
though in the first and last instances, the sun was at an equal 
altitude.
   But perhaps the anatomist or zoologist will derive the greatest 
advantages from the discovery, the form of the animal being as easily 
studied from the drawing as from the original, and the most powerful 
microscopes not having hitherto detected the smallest deficiency in the 
details.  Nor is the invention devoid of interest to the astronomer, 
for the light of the moon is sufficient to produce the usual results, 
requiring only additional time for its operations.  The following 
extract from "Le Commerce" is sufficient to substantiate its value in 
this respect:--The experiments on the light of Sirius have confirmed 
the testimony of natural philosophy, and abundantly proved that the 
stars are bodies of the same nature as the sun;  at the request of M. 
Biot, M. Daguerre has submitted his apparatus to the influence of the 
light of the moon, and has succeeded in fixing the image of that 
luminary.  We observed that the image had a trail of light something 
like the tail of a comet, and we ascribe it to the movement of the body 
during the operation, which is of much longer duration than that by the 
light of the sun."

* Foreign Quarterly Review, No. 81


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Posted for your enjoyment.     Gary W. Ewer     
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07-26-99


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