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  The research archive of Gary W. Ewer regarding the history of the daguerreotype

On this day (December 12) in the year 1842, the following advertisement, placed by George Barron Goodman, appeared in the "Sydney Morning Herald" (Sydney, Australia): - - - - - - - - - - OPEN ON MONDAY NEXT. [Ornate Imperial Patents Logo here] BY HER MAJESTY'S ROYAL LETTERS PATENT PHOTOGRAPHIC PORTRAITS, Taken by the Reflection of Light. THE Proprietor of the Reflecting Apparatus, by which FAITHFUL MINA- TURE LIKENESSES of the human counte- nance and person are "won from the hand of nature" in the short space of a few seconds, respectfully announces to the inhabitants of Sydney, that THIS EXTRAORDINARY PROCESS WILL BE OPEN TO THE PUBLIC, AT THE ROYAL HOTEL, in which the Photographic Apparatus, the dis- covery of which is ranked among the greatest scientific achievements of the present age, will be in DAILY OPERATION FROM TEN TILL FIVE. The Price of each Portrait is ONE GUINEA, exclusive of the Frame. The invention was recently introduced into England, at the Royal Polytechnic Institution, London; and the following are a few extracts from the leading journals relating to its merits: [FROM THE TIMES] The Photographic, or Daguerreotype Miniatures. --The novelty attendant upon the fact of being furnished in the short space of five seconds with a more correct miniature likeness than the most accomplished artist could paint on ivory, after days of laborious study, coupled with the fine- ness of the weather, drew together a host of curious fashionables, at the Polytechnic Institu- tion so many, indeed, that notwithstanding the short period of time occupied in the operation, the room was crowded for hours together by parties anxiously waiting their turn. The apartment appropriated for the magical pro- cess, for so it may be termed, is well calculated for the object desired, being on the highest story of the institution. In a portion of the room, nearly in the centre, an elevated seat is placed, on which the party whose likeness is to be taken sits, with his head reclined backwards. In this position the sitter is told to look into a glass box, in an opposite direction, about five feet from him, in which is placed the plate to be impressed with the portrait. Having done so for a few seconds, he descends, and in a few minutes afterwards a likeness is presented to him. The likeness which we saw were admir- able, and closely true to nature. [FROM THE MORNING CHRONICLE.] When we formerly described this process, the time requisite for taking a portrait was, gener- ally speaking, about four minutes; but in con- siquence of the great improvements that have been made, the time has been reduced to about five seconds on a clear day; but during cloudy dull weather, the operation may require from a minute and a-half to two minutes. The por- traits taken by this means are really extraor- dinary as likenesses; they are true to nature, for nature here is her own delineator. [FROM THE MORNING HERALD.] Photographic Portraits.--We were present on Saturday at the exhibition of the extraordinary process of taking portraits by the reflecting apparatus, lately patented, and now for the first time brought before the public. By the photo- graphic process, a perfect likenesses are taken, in the short space from ten to five and twenty seconds! We say perfect, because the prepared plate on which the object is reflected must of necessity produce a perfect transcript of that object. [FROM THE OBSERVER.] Photographic Portraits.--The appearance of the miniature thus produced is that of a mezzo- tint engraving, the likeness being no question of opinion, but a plain matter of fact, for nature in this, as in no other similar operations, makes "no mistake." There is such subtility of touch and tone in the likeness as might fill a Vandyke or a Lawrence at once with delight and despair. Altogether this is a most wonderful and extra- ordinary exhibition. Those who in portraiture are fond of being "flattered," will certainly not patronise the photographic method of taking likenesses; but on the other hand, they who want the real thing, and we presume them to be the majority, will unquestionably spend a guinea with great willingness in the production of a miniature portrait which their fathers and mothers, wives, sisters and brothers, may "swear to." [FROM BELL'S WEEKLY MESSENGER.] EXTRAORDINARY FACT.--Miniature Pictures. -- It is bodily and personally the individual who is the sitter. It is as much so as he sees himself in the most accurate looking glass, but with this difference, that the photographic likeness is the image as if it were removed from the surface of the mirror, and rendered perpetual. It is an everlasting memorial of the man at the moment it is taken, and therefore the most precious gift that can be given to those who love him while living, and will cherish his memory when dead. It is a discovery, which not only saves the sitter from the tedium of being fixed in the same po- sition for many an hour for his likeness (for this is accomplished in the sixth part of a minute) but it affords to artists themselves the surest guide for copying other likenesses, weather in miniature, or in oil paintings as large as life. A few notes by Sandy Barrie: George Barron Goodman, opened the First Professional Portrait Studio in Australia, on December 12th 1842. The above is the full text of his advertisement placed in Several Sydney Newspapers. The extracts quoted to are from English Newspapers, and if any reader should find the reference as to any issue or date for the original quotes I would greatly appreciate hearing from them. The Polytechnic Studio referred to was Beard's original Studio, as illustrated by Cruikshank. Goodman bought the license to use the daguerreotype process in Australia. Further information about Goodman is found in Barrie, Sandy "George Barron Goodman, Australia's first Professional Photographer," in "The Daguerreian Annual 1995," pp. 172-178. -------------------------------------------------------------- 12-12-97

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