© Albert Kaplan 2015



Life Image



The hand you see is that of Grant Romer, the recognized world authority of early photography.

Kaplan Collection Known Images
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Born in 1783, and died in 1859, the question arises as to the probable date of the sitting.  If it was made in 1842, shortly before his departure to Spain to take up his post as the U. S. Ambassador, his age would have been 59.  If the image was made after his return to the United States in 1846, his age would have been 63 or more.


On January 16, 2016 Grant Romer and Michael Hager examined this  daguerreotype.  It is a quarter plate. They decided not to remove the tarnish because to do so would remove the coloring on the cheeks.


The glass cover had decomposition which was removed.  Fortunately, the decomposition did no harm to the image.


The seals were broken, proving that the package had, in the past, been opened.


Grant also reported that the plate was cut down from a larger plate.  It is now slightly smaller than a normal quarter plate.


The plate is laterally inverted.


Both Grant and Mike reported that the portrait was made “at a very high end studio.”   There was no evidence who the dagurerreian was.


There are a few, very few, masterpieces of early photography.


This is one  of them.


There is a certain relief in change, even though it be from bad to worse.  As I have found in traveling in a stagecoach, it is often a comfort to shift one’s position, and be bruised in a new place.

Washington Irving



Post-Script Thoughts–October 28, 2017


Washington Irving # 1

Washington Irving # 1 is a masterpiece, and surely not by accident. Very rarely does one see a daguerreotype of such quality. The daguerrreian is unknown.


Post-Script Thoughts–July 22, 2018


Washington Irving was one of the most famous men of his age, literally residing at the summit of Mt. Olympus.

I think of him as a child of destiny. George Washington longed to meet his namesake and visited the Irving residence to meet the boy.

In my opinion it is an artistic masterpiece. The great Washington Irving is before us.