Religious couple by Hessler

Exquisite and rare half-plate daguerreotype by one of the more notable photographers of the daguerreian era, Alexander Hesler.  The image is identified with a velvet mat stamp on the inside of the case.  According to Craig’s Hesler born in Canada learned the process in 1847 and practiced it for two years, (?), before moving to Galena.  He was first listed in Galena in 1849 and stayed there until moving his gallery across the river to Dubuque, IA for a little over a year in late 1850.  He moved back to Galena and kept a studio here until 1856. However, between 1855-56 he was in partnership with G.G. Johnson with Johnson becoming the sole owner in early 56.   Helser opened his first Chicago gallery in 1855.  As far as the daguerreotype it is a most interesting presentation.  First and foremost is the format which is accomplished in crayon style vignette.  We have never seen this style from Helser available on the market.  The image shows a prominent Galena couple illustrating a luxurious sense of style.  In an odd sense of fashion the husbands vest is only buttoned at the top so this present an unusual pucker.  His wife wears a beautiful black velvet dress with a fur stole draped around her shoulders.  Obviously proud of her faith a large cross is most prominent around her neck.  Her hair is artfully styled with pin curls and long ringlets and she is sporting a pair of long hoop styled earrings.  The image is extremely sharp in detail and has very nice tones and contrast.  It is in excellent minus condition with a few very small spider spots and just an ever so slight hint of plate tarnish.  The image had old seals strong attached and we have since resealed it with a new glass.  One other notable feature is the top of the case is done with a velvet and leather cover.  We have never seen this with a Hesler image although it is in his usual pushbutton style.  We have not seen a half plate Helser in this quality condition offered on the market in a very long time.  A show piece for any collection.