Ninth plate daguerreotype portrait of a young girl with pink-tinted cheeks and curled hair. Ball & Thomas: Cincinnati, Ohio, n.d., circa 1850. Sitter wears a dress and sits on a chair draped with a textile partially tinted pink and blue. Housed under mat marked with Ball & Thomas' 120 W. 4th St. studio address, in pressed paper case fully separated at spine.
James Presley Ball (1825-1904) is one of the most renowned African American photographers at one point owning the largest photographic gallery west of the Appalachians. When visiting White Sulphur Sprints, Virginia in 1845 he met John B. Bailey, an African American daguerreotypist from Boston where he acquired the passion and skill of photography. He opened a studio in Cincinnati later that year, and though it was unsuccessful, he continued his art with studios in Pittsburgh and Richmond and traveled as an itinerant daguerreotypist. In 1849, he reopened a studio in Cincinnati. He hired his younger brother Thomas Ball to work as an operator, and in 1852 hired his future brother-in-law Alexander Thomas to work with him. By 1857, their gallery was one of the grandest in the United States attracting notables including Frederick Douglass. He was chosen in 1887 as the official photographer of a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation held in Minneapolis-St.Paul. In 1888, he moved to Helena, Montana with his son where he operated a studio for several years before moving again in 1892 to Seattle.
Image housed in original seal. Image rather clear, with softened focus on subject's face, suggesting possible movement. Light tarnish visible along left edge. Case fully separated at spine, with wear including finish loss to corners, edges, and raised surfaces. Some peeling to back cover along edge meeting spine.
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