Portrait of a Man

Accession Number

Portrait of a Man

Antoine François Jean Claudet

Artist Nationality
French (culture or style)

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
daguerreotype under glass in gilt framed, velvet-lined, leather-bound wood case

6 in x 4 15/16 in x 1 3/16 in (15.24 cm x 12.54 cm x 3.02 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Margaret and Howard Bond

Subject matter
Set inside an ornate case, this daguerreotype photograph depicts a stately man seated against a painted backdrop. With his face at a slight angle, the man sits erect in his chair, his heavy-lidded eyes looking at the camera. His hair and goatee are neatly combed, and he wears a plush suit-jacket. The painted backdrop against which he sits is full of clouds, and appears oddly flat compared to the sharply rendered form of the man. The painted sky behind him is hand-tinted a light blue, and the man’s face is tinted a grey-flesh tone. One of the first photography processes invented, daguerreotypes were created on silver-coated copper plates. Owing to this metallic surface, the photograph has a mirror-like quality, reflecting an iridescent sheen throughout the image depending on the angle. To protect and house the daguerreotype plate, it is framed behind a pane of glass within a gilded frame with rounded corners. The case around it is bound in dark maroon leather, its insides lined in red velvet. On the front of the case embossed in gilt letters is the photographer’s seal, which advertises his business and its address.

Physical Description
This photograph depicts a the top half of a suited man sitting before a painted backdrop of a sky. The image is hand-tinted in light colors and is set in a gilt frame inside an ornate leather-bound case.

Primary Object Classification

Collection Area

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cases (containers)
daguerreotypes (photographs)
frames (ornament areas)
men (male humans)
photo frames

5 Related Resources

(Part of 5 Learning Collections)
Photographic Portraiture in the 19th Century
(Part of: Identity and Self-Understanding)
Surreal Photography
(Part of 2 Learning Collections)
CC 2 - MSE - Chemical art processes (photochemistry, etching)
(Part of: CC 2 - Materials Science and Engineering)

& Author Notes

Web Use Permitted