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I would like to start today by letting all my readers know, that getting clear images of Ambrotypes and Daugerrotypes is hard. Real hard. So hard, there will be an entire post on that shortly.


But, here it is, the first cased image I am uploading. She is a quarter-plate ambrotype, in a leather case. Now, in reality, she is rather clear, and you don’t see that dust over her, but I haven’t quite managed to capture her clarity.

She is dressed nicely for the mid-late 1850s. Her dress has a v-neck and pagoda sleeves. Her waistline is straight across, and her bodice is either darted or pleated to fit. Her print is  a lovely late 50s large floral, which is trimmed around the neck edge, jockey, and sleeve opening with velvet ribbon. She wears undersleeves, and an open-work tucker around her neck edge.

She has a tinted square broach at the center front of her neck, and it appears she is wearing either earrings, or dangly hair pins.

Many cased images do not offer insight into the sitter, or the photographer, as is the case with this image. I do not know who she is, or even what country she came from, let alone what part of the country. Her dress style is typical for about 1857-1860, with nothing to point to a localized fashion.

However, I find cased images a bit more intimate. Here she sits in her little book as she has for the 150 years, sometimes opened and viewed upon. How different I am of a viewer, studying her through a historian’s lense, then the first viewer who opened her latch was though!


I spent zero effort taking pictures of her case, but here it is!