WONDERFULLY CLEAR RUBY AMBROTYPE OF A YOUNG SOUTHERN RECRUIT

$750.00

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Item Code: 1138-1899

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This ninth-plate ruby ambrotype shows a young man in civilian clothes seated at a table commemorating his new role as soldier by wearing a very southern militia style kepi with band of gold braid around the bottom edge, just above the chinstrap, and a five-pointed star on the upper front. Often associated with Texas, the star was common among Mississippi units as well, though not limited entirely to those states.

In this case, the young man wears a conventional civilian coat with dark collar open to reveal a vest, white shirt and bowtie. The photographer has lightly tinted his cheeks and lightly tinted the braid and buttons on his cap. He is cleanshaven and his prominent ears give him a particularly innocent, youthful air that contrasts with the military cap. One cheek pokes out a bit and we are tempted to think he is concealing some chewing tobacco, but it could be the camera angle. He does seem, however, to be slightly leaning to the viewer’s left, almost hunching over the book on the table next to him, certainly putting some weight on it, rather than the stiffer pose more common with the same props. It may be reading too much into the image, but it certainly conveys a little bit of anxiety perhaps due to his recent visit to the recruiting office.

This comes from the collection of the late Bill Turner, who concentrated on Virginia pieces, but had an eye for quality and historical importance regardless. It is nicely housed in a thermoplastic case with geometric and floral motifs and a central panel of fruit on a vine or branch. The purple velvet facing pad is present, as is the glass, mat, and frame. The clarity is superb and the image conveys perfectly that youthful innocence about to undergo life-changing experiences that many veterans, fortunate enough to have survived, in later years recalled in looking back at 1861. [SR] [ph:L]

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