MILITARY NINTH-PLATE DAGUERREOTYPE BY REES WHILE WORKING IN NEW YORK CITY

$2,950.00

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: 1138-1887

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Charles Rees is best known among collectors for his military portraits in Confederate Richmond, but he worked in New York City from 1852 to 1854 and this is a very nice portrait of one of New York’s “elegant elite.” Born in Allentown, Pa., in 1825, Rees took up photography about 1843 in Cincinnati, moved to New York about 1852 and partnered with S.A. Holmes at a gallery at 289 Broadway, operating as Rees and Company. He left the city in Fall 1854, giving the image a fairly narrow time frame, perhaps slightly narrower yet since before leaving he had fallen out with Holmes and changed addresses. The mat on this image clearly reads “REES&Co / 289 BROADWAY,” though the first two digits of the address are partly hidden by the frame. We refer those interested to Serrano’s excellent recent article on Rees in Military Images Magazine.

Our subject is shown seated in a half-length view. He sports a neatly trimmed and twisted mustache, close-shaven goatee and somewhat long curly hair brushed up and back in the wind-blown fashion. He has a suppressed smile, what certainly looks like one eyebrow cocked, and a twinkle in his eye. He cuts a dashing, and somewhat dandy, figure and knows it. His tall white shirt collar stands well above his jacket collar and he appears to wear a tie pin on his cravat tie as well. His jacket, or coat, shows nine buttons down the front, shoulder straps fastened near the collar by single buttons and slash pockets on the breast. The collar, tabs, and pockets are all trimmed with light colored cording, that on the tabs and pockets showing triple loops and the ends. A set of corporal chevrons, worn point up, show on his sleeve at right.

His collar is decorated near its front edge with a small American eagle, certainly of stamped metal, likely brass and silvered. The resolution is good enough to show it clutches arrows and olive branch, has a U.S. shield on its chest, and that overhead a ribbon connects its wing tips in an arc, likely bearing E PLURIBUS UNUM on it. The pattern was popular on military hat cockades from about 1820 to 1851, fading out as U.S. 1851 uniform and insignia regulations influenced militia fashion, until revived in much larger fashion in 1872.

The image is housed in thermoplastic figural case with a geometric woven pattern and gothic/arabesque window frame. There is just some light wear to highpoints. Facing pad and hinge are intact. The image is very clear and the cheerful look of the sitter is very unusual. It is no wonder Rees has the reputation he does among image collectors. [sr] [ph:m]

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