Daguerreotype in a locket?

Frances Castle sent me this photograph of a locket which has been passed down through the family generations, and which she is pretty sure must have been taken in Derby. However, she can’t decide whether the subject is Sarah Collumbell née Hughes (1781-1863) or Esther Sherwin née Bakewell (1776-1843).

Image © & courtesy of Frances Castle
If it is a daguerreotype – and I can’t be sure about it as I’m not very knowledgeable about this type of image – then it is likely to have been taken in the 1840s or early 1850s. After this time, first the ambrotype and then in the 1860s, the tintype and carte de visite, superseded it in popularity. However, the clothes of the elderly woman seem to me to date from the 1850s, and I think it more likely that it was taken after 1843, the death date of Esther Sherwin. Photography was still very much in its infancy in the early 1840s, and daguerreotypes were not at all common. John Johnson, the first photographer to work in Derby, operated briefly from premises in Victoria Street in the summer of 1843, so it is conceivable that he took this photo. However, it is far more likely to be Sarah Collumbell, who would have been 65-75 years old in the late 1840s or early 1850s.

I’d be keen to hear from anyone more knowledgeable about daguerreotypes who might be able to enlighten us on the nature of this locket (Email me).


~ by gluepot on Monday, February 18, 2008.

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