The Lost Daguerreotype of Congressman John Quincy Adams
Starting with a high-resolution photograph of the John Quincy Adams life mask created by John Henri Isaac Browere (1790—1834) in 1825; combined with meticulous research into eye color, hair style and color, eyebrows, complexion, etc.; and the magic of Adobe Photoshop this resultant image takes the viewer back to the 1830’s! Just gaze into Adams’s brown eyes, with his signature “mutton chops” and be transported back in time. What would you ask Old Man Eloquent?
Before photography, life masks were the best way to give us an exact likeness of their subject. Plaster would be applied to the head and sometimes upper torso to create a mold from which a life mask (cast bust) of the person would be created. In addition to being three-dimensional, the faithful transfer process of the life mask creation eliminated the “artistic license” and “sympathetic treatment” employed by many contemporary portrait artists. Thus, using life masks, I am able to complete a forensic/academic study of how the subjects most likely appeared using Adobe Photoshop to add flesh, hair, and other details.
“John Quincy Adams, the sixth President of the United States, was born in Braintree, Massachusetts, July 11, 1767, and died in the Speaker’s room of the House of Representatives at Washington, February 28, 1848. He has been called the most cultivated occupant that the Presidential chair has ever had; but his administration was unimportant, and he personally was the most unpopular man who has yet achieved the high office. He seems to have anticipated Whistler in the “gentle art of making enemies.”
“Washington City, October 28, 1825, The president requests me to state to Mr. Browere that he will be able to give him two hours tomorrow morning at seven o’clock at his (Mr. Browere’s) rooms on Pennsylvania Avenue. He is so much engaged at present that this is the only time he can conveniently spare for the purpose of your executing his portrait bust from life. C. F. Adams.”
J. I. Browere’s “work achieved a stark realism uncommon in that day. His plaster busts showed the age-lined brow, the pock-marked face; his subjects appeared as they were, not as artists generally portrayed them. His life masks were, and remain, the most authentic likenesses of some historic figures who lived in a day before photography provided more easily obtained but similarly uncompromising portraits.”
J. I. Browere’s made life masks of many famous early Americans, Marquis De Lafayette, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Dolley Madison and James Madison to name a few.
About Your Print:
Your print comes with a certificate of authenticity and was made by a commercial printing service using Kodak Professional Endura Premier Lustre paper. My signature on the back is signed with an archival acid free ink pen and the blue logo stamp uses archival acid free ink.
Your print will last as long, if not longer than silver halide photographs under the same conditions. If you display your print in a frame under glass or acrylic board, try to avoid hanging in direct sunlight as the color may fade over time, as do traditional photographs.
This is a new ready-to-frame print. (FRAME NOT INCLUDED)
Prints and sketch/art cards ship with 3-5 business day via USPS First Class Mail.