Portrait of Annie M. Collins ~ c. 1847/50


Portrait of Annie M. Collins ~ c. 1847

Quarter plate Daguerreotype by David C. Collins, American (1825-1909) and Thomas P. Collins, American (1823-1873). Plate: 4 1/4 x 3 1/4 inches (10.8 x 8.26 cm). Case: 4 5/8 x 3 3/4 inches (11.76 x 9.53 cm)

The description of this Daguerreotype says the photo is ca. 1847. To me the style of dress looks much more like 1850s, as well as the double elliptical Daguerreotype mat. But apart from that, the image emanates something very modern. The young woman, or teenage girl, could be a model from a modern-day magazine, with her dream-like and self-conscious look into the camera. She is really connecting to her observer, as if she is already very familiar with the new medium of photography. The unusual composition is very well done, with the draped curtains and the girl leaning out of the frame, enhancing the sensation that she is moving towards the observer. The photo has a kind of ‘openness’, maybe because the sitter was acquainted with the photographers? They share the same last name. I wonder what their connection was.

It looks like the girl is wearing matching bracelets, or wristlets with a kind of rosetta on top. The bracelets or wristlets look like hair jewelry, as was fashionable in that time. She also wears a ring on her ring finger and she holds a pair of gloves in one of her hands. She has a broad lace collar, probably with a brooch, which is hidden underneath the broad striped bonnet ribbons that hang loose. Her bonnet is trimmed with all sorts of decorations. Across the top of her head lies a braid which might be a hair piece, but it’s hard to see clearly on the photo. She has a fringe trimmed patterned shawl that she seems to be wearing over one shoulder. The fabric of her dress is of intricate floral pattern, it has wide sleeves, probably bell sleeves, with a kind of embroidery or passementerie trim. Looks more like embroidery.

This certainly is one of my favorite Daguerreotype portraits, because of the composition, the girl’s open and intimate composure as well as the ‘modern’ feel of the image.

Via: The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art & Art Blart

Leave a Reply