CONFEDERATE MAJOR IN SIXTH PLATE TINTYPE EX-BILL TURNER

$1,200.00 SOLD

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Item Code: 1138-1788

This comes from the collection of the late noted Virginia collector and dealer Bill Turner and shows a Confederate major in regulation CS officer’s frock coat. He is shown from the lower chest up, and the upper buttons of his double-breasted gray frock coat are visible- four on the left and three on the right, the lower one not fastened. The resolution is good enough to see that they are U.S. general staff buttons, and also to show the single star indicating his rank on one side of his collar.

The photographer has delicately shaded his cheeks red the sitter has turned slightly to the viewer’s left with his eyes wide open, producing a strong portrait of a Confederate field officer. Needless to say, the rank is scarce given the standard tables of organization a lot only one major to every ten captains and twenty lieutenants in an infantry regiment. It is also a desirable rank from the frequency with which majors are found in command of regiments after the colonel and lieutenant colonel have been put out of action, the field officers exercising overall control of the regiment, but positioned in the forward battle lines with everyone else.

The photo is matted, glassed, framed, and held in a figural thermoplastic case showing a music lesson with a floral scroll border. Behind the image was an unmounted copy photo, 19th century, with some folds and stains, showing the officer with the note “my picture” on the reverse, which, while extremely accurate, is not very helpful, but does imply he survived the war.  We do think, however, he is likely a Virginian and that there is a chance yet of identifying him. The clarity of the image is very good, though there is some damage to the varnish used to seal the plate. This has, fortunately, not darkened, but does seem to have peeled slightly or raised, but does not seem to have affected the emulsion, on which we see just one small dark rub at left, near the edge of the mat.

This is a strong portrait of a Confederate field officer with some personality and force of character and displays very well. If you own a nice Confederate officer’s sword, this deserves a place beside it. [sr] [ph:L]

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