The Lost Daguerreotype of John Adams


Giclee print on Kodak Professional Endura Premier Lustre paper. Signed with Certificate of Authenticity.


The Lost Daguerreotype of John Adams

Starting with a high-resolution photograph of the John 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 that day in 1825! As you look upon the ninety year old face of John Adams you wonder what is foremost in his mind – the pride in what he did in the founding of the United States or the pride of a father who’s son has followed in his footsteps to the Presidency.

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.

The life mask reflects how the ninety-year-old Adams had lost his teeth and refused to wear dentures.

John Adams

“John Adams, whose dental health was apparently poor throughout his life. His pernicious habit of inducing vomiting to treat various bodily ills, coupled with a great love of sweets, led to the loss of his teeth, which he stubbornly refused to replace with dentures. When he was older, this led to his speech being so badly affected, that he could barely be understood.”1

“At the age of 15, he was admitted to Harvard College and graduated from there in 1755. While at Harvard, he frequently wrote home about the poor quality of the food and commented that he subsisted principally on bread and beer, the latter brew most likely only weakly alcoholic. He had another pernicious habit, smoking, as well as chewing tobacco, which he began at age 8 and continued until well past the age of 70.” 2

“…he suffered from many colds and was burdened with heartburn, for which he found relief in drinking copious amounts of highly sugared tea. This, no doubt, added to his dental problems by promoting caries.” 3

See how John Adams might have appeared had he lived into the age of photography in the form of a daguerreotype.

Note: The daguerreotype frame is part of the print.

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 ship with 1-5 business days via USPS First Class Mail. Free U.S. Shipping.

If for any reason you are not completely satisfied with your print, we will completely refund your order.

Sources & References:

1,2,3 Marvin E. Ring, D.D.S., M.I.S. “The Dental Health of President John Adams” New York State Dental Journal; Hempstead Vol. 70, Iss. 7, (Aug/Sep 2004): 36-7.

Original Life Mask Image Source: John Adams (1735-1826), 1940, J.H. Browere & Roman Bronze Works, bronze, H: 29 x W: 21.5 x D: 10.5 in., Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown, New York, Gift of Stephen C. Clark. N0201.1961. Photograph by Richard Walker.


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