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

On this day (May 17) in the year 1851, the following two paragraphs appeared as part of an article entitled "London During the Great Exhibition." in the "Exhibition Supplement to The Illustrated London News) Vol. 18, No. 486 (17 May 1851) pg. 425: - - - - - - - - It is only within the last few years that the force of light has been made directly available for the arts, in the production of pictures. Here we have very excellent examples of Daguerréotype and Calotypes. Of the former we are inclined, after a very minute and careful examination, to give to America the first place. Whither the atmosphere is better adapted to the art, or whether the preparation of Daguerréotypes have been congenial with the trades of the people, or whether they are unfettered by the patents in force in England, certain it is that the number of exhibitors has been very great, and the quality of production super-excellent. The likenesses of various distinguished Americans, by Mr. Brady, are noble examples of this style of art. The family of Mr. Churchill is a very pretty group; and the series of views illustrating the falls of Niagara are a very appropriate example of American industry, by Mr. Whitehurst, of Baltimore. The large specimens by Mr. Harrison are also excellent. In fact, the American display of Daguerréotypes is some degree atones for the disrespect with which they have treated all other nations, in having applied for so large a space, and yet at best having left their space comparatively unfilled. Whilst stating that the Americans have surpassed all nations in the production of Daguerréotypes, it must not be understood that the English are much deficient in this branch of art. M. Claudet has exhibited a very fine collection. Mr. Mayall, who, perhaps, must be regarded as an American, has also a good display; and, upon the whole, our show is by no means discreditable to us. -------------------------------------------------------------- 05-17-98

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