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Southworth & Hawes
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Gift of I. N. Phelps Stokes, Edward S. Hawes, Alice Mary Hawes, and Marion Augusta Hawes, 1937, Accession Number: 37.14.5
Curatorial description (Accessed: 10 January 2018)
The Boston partnership of Southworth and Hawes produced the finest portrait daguerreotypes in America for a clientele that included leading political, intellectual, and artistic figures. This first photographic process, invented by Louis Daguerre (1787-1851), spread rapidly around the world after its public presentation in Paris in 1839. Exposed in a camera obscura and developed in mercury vapors, each highly polished silvered copper plate is a unique photograph that, viewed in proper light, exhibits extraordinary detail and three-dimensionality. Only very rarely were daguerreotypes produced on this extraordinary scale--four times the size of the largest standard plate--and then, necessarily, for wealthy and important clients, such as John L. Tucker, host of the prestigious Tremont House Hotel in Boston.