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  The research archive of Gary W. Ewer regarding the history of the daguerreotype

On this day (February 5) in the year 1853, the following article appeared in "Gleason's Pictorial Drawing-Room Companion" (Boston; Vol. IV, No. 6; page 96) The article is accompanied by a wood-engraving illustration of the interior of their Broadway gallery. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - DAGUERREOTYPE GALLERIES OF MEADE BROTHERS. This splendid daguerreotype establishment was the first in the world built and adapted expressly for all branches of this curious art. No expense has been spared to introduce into it all the facilities of the art; and, setting aside the great value of miniatures, views, etc., produced by this process, the resources of this great art are developed in an extraordinary degree in the application to other arts--and we find that the most eminent artists in American are executing words from daguerreotypes taken in these galleries. Portrait and miniature painters, sculptors, engravers on steel and wood, lithographers, die- cutters, etc., here obtain that aid which they cannot procure from any other source. Besides the merit awarded to these pictures by public opinion and the press, they have received several medals from the different fairs, and testimonials and letters from the crowned heads of Europe. Some of the most prominent pictures in this collection--which amounts now to over one thousand, some of them on plates twelve by sixteen and a half inches--are, first, Daguerre, the father of the art, taken in France, in 1848; also a fine view of his chateau at Brie Sur Marne, where he died last July. One of the Meade Brothers will visit Europe next month, and return with many valuable pictures of modern Europe and the Holy Land; also a view of the monument to Daguerre. There is to be still another monument erected to Daguerre and Neipce in France, and Mr. Meade will take with him the American contribution to that object. Mr. Neipce was the associate of Daguerre in his experiments, and rendered efficient aid in the discovery. The only pictures of Daguerre from life in America are to be seen in this establishment. The last pictures ever taken of those distinguished patriots, Clay and Webster, are also here. From the latter, Fletcher Webster, Esq., had copies made for himself; while Ritchie is executing an engraving, Jones a medallion and C. C. Wright gold and bronze medals from the profile views of the illustrious statesman. Next comes Louis Napoleon, Emperor of France, Count D'Orsay, now deceased, the eccentric Lola Montez, Countess of Landsfeldt, in a variety of costumes, Gen Lopez, who was garroted at Havana, Louis Kossuth, the brilliant orator, Kit Carson, Billy Bowlegs, the Seminole warrior and his suite. Several of these pictures have been illustrated in this paper. There are, also, fine panoramic view of the city of San Francisco, California, the Falls of Niagara, Shakspeare's house at Stratford on Avon, the Boulevards, Place de la Concorde, Arc de Triomph, Madalin, Notre Dame, etc., in Paris, portraits of Prof. Morse, inventor of the telegraph, the sable emperor and empress of Hayti, Gen. Paez, Jenny Lind, Catherine Hayes, Commodore Perry, of the Japan Expedition, Edwin Forrest, views in North and South America, American statesmen, actors, press and divines, embracing nearly all person, male and female, of celebrity in modern times. One portion of the building is used as a store for goods used in this art, which they import and send to all parts of the world. The Meade Brothers take every style and size picture known in this beautiful art. They have the largest apparatus in the world. They have two separate rooms for sitters, with toilette rooms adjoining, and two large skylight, with conveniences for taking groups--of schools, colleges, military and fire companies; also the wonderful sterescopic or solid daguerreotypes. This popular establishment is now one of the lions of New York, and is well worthy a visit from the resident or passing traveller. These galleries are free to the public. What a revolution in the matter of art, the famous discovery of Daguerre has made! It has opened a line of occupation for an entire new class of artists, and a profitable and useful line too. The various purposes, of real importance, to which the art is and can be appropriated, are but indifferently understood, and would require pages properly to explain and specify. In all new discoveries of localities, of inventions, of accidents (as practised by the Prussian government), and, indeed, of anything that it is desirable to transfer accurately and beyond the question of a doubt, the daguerreotype becomes invaluable. The modern improvements in this art are most extensive and elaborate, and each month seems to develop some new perfection, some increased facility and adaptation, produced by careful experiment and chemical knowledge. (Original errors of spelling/grammar maintained.) -------------------------------------------------------------- 02-05-97

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