CASED HALF PLATE AMBROTYPE OF CS SERGEANT, POSSIBLY BY REES, WITH HALF-PLATE TINTYPE OF LIEUTENANT

$6,500.00

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 1138-1967

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Call 717-334-0347,
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These two half plate images are nicely paired by pose and are housed together in a thermoplastic case showing on the front the equestrian statue of George Washington in Richmond in its central oval panel, bordered by angels blowing trumpets at top, with flags, eagles, and U.S. shields at the bottom. The back of the case has the central panel blank, but uses the same richly decorated border.

The left image shows a vignetted full standing Confederate sergeant from the knees up, with his arms folded and wearing an outrageously broad-brimmed hat turned up slightly and worn at a rakish angle. The photographer has lightly tinted his cheeks and has slightly touched his six visible buttons with gold. For all the casualness of the hat, he wears a fairly blank expression, perhaps an intentional contrast. He has a neatly trimmed mustache and goatee. His jacket is a Richmond Depot Type-III, with no trim or shoulder straps, though we are aware there were many copies. This ties nicely, though, with the use of the Richmond statue case and the photographer vignetting the figure, a Rees trait. In any case, the clarity is outstanding and we can make out sergeant’s chevrons on both sleeves, with a possible first-sergeant’s lozenge showing above them on the viewer’s left, making him the senior NCO of his company.

The right hand image is a half-plate tintype showing an officer with chin-beard and narrow-brim slouch hat, also vignetted against a plain background and shown standing, from the knees up with arms crossed. The photographer tinted his coat with a blue that has faded to a slightly greenish tone, and touched his buttons and shoulder straps. The latter seem pretty clearly to show first lieutenant’s bars. The blue coat may be off-putting, but pre-war Virginia militia regulations specified that officers’ uniforms would follow U.S. regular army patterns and it took some time for them to be laid aside. This comes from the collection of the late Bill Turner, noted Virginia dealer and collector, and it is easy to see why he liked it.

The case shows a repaired crack near the bottom of the front face, more or less at the bottom edge of the central oval panel and down from there to each corner. This is not very evident from the exterior. The tintype clearly shows the officer’s facial features and hands, even though the coloring of the coat has shifted and is uneven. The sergeant is clearly the star of the show, with gray jacket and trousers and that hat, which seems so broad in the photographer’s studio, but would have been eminently practical in hot southern sun.  [sr] [ph:m]

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