Daguerreotype of a sailor from the U.S. Navy

Retrat de mariner Nord-americà, unknown, c. 1860

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Num. inventory: 72656F

Object name: daguerreotypes

Title: Retrat de mariner Nord-americà

Object date: c. 1860

Color: black and white

Author: unknown

Technique and material: type of case: union case (US patent), made with shellac.


Daguerreotype of a sailor from the U.S. Navy (c. 1860) within a frame known as a “Union Case”, decorated with military motifs. The case is made of a thermoplastic material that preceded today’s plastics, used to hold daguerreotypes, ambrotypes and tintypes.

The decoration suggests that the daguerreotype was taken during the American Civil War (1861-1865) when there was a boom in photography in the United States, as it allowed those heading off to fight to leave a token behind with their families.