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Unidentified American photographer, possibly Montgomery P. Simons
African American with a steer
Daguerreotype, 1/2 plate, hand-colored
Sotheby's - New York
2 October 2013, Photographs, Lot: 73
This impressive half-plate daguerreotype is notable for its unusual subject: an African-American man steadying a bull or steer. Reddish-brown tinting highlights the bullock’s musculature, and subtle yellow and green tinting adds depth to the surrounding folliage. The African-American worker harnessing the animal was likely not its owner and may, indeed, have been a slave. His face may originally have been obscured by a larger oval mat.
While the authorship of this daguerreotype is not confirmed, it is possibly the work of Philadelphia daguerreian Montgomery P. Simons, who spent time in Charleston, South Carolina, in the winter of 1849 and later in Richmond, Virginia (cf. Laurie A. Baty, ‘ “. . . and Simons.” Montgomery Pike Simons,’ The Daguerreian Annual, 1993, p. 185, fig. 3).
Alan Griffiths note:
I'm indebted to Brian Stevenson for bringing this photograph to my attention.