Quarter plate size. Full case.

In a perfect world, these men are equals. The dashing young man brings excitement and the older resolute man brings wisdom. They are posed at equal height. There is a familiarity between the two.

But what if this depicts a servant-master relationship, or an enslaved person-master relationship? We can debate all day about whether there is such a thing as a benevolent master, but anytime there is ownership of another person, the whole discussion is skewed and good will gets tossed out the window.

Yet look again. Is it possible they take care of each other? Is it possible they could be friends? Is it possible they are both committed to abolitionism? So many questions, and the complicated issue of race makes this all the more compelling.

This daguerreotype we are offering is an incredible document of American history. Perhaps some day we'll know the specific story, but as of now, we're left guessing.


Condition:Modern seals. Brown spots. Case is worn.

Estimate: $20,000 - $35,000
Price Realized Including Buyer's Premium

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PLEASE NOTE: This auction is being organized and offered by The Daguerreian Society. Cowan's staff is not able to answer any condition questions and will not be providing shipping services for this auction. All questions regarding the auction should be addressed to auction@daguerreiansociety.org