Photographic Materials Group Talks on May 14, 2010 The Conservation Project of the Manila Daguerreotypes

The Conservation Project of the Manila Daguerreotypes

Caroline Barcella, Fifth Cycle Advanced Residency Program in Photograph Conservation

The second talk was equally engaging. This project was conducted during Caroline’s ARP study. These daguerreotypes were discovered at the Hispanic Society of America – 18 plates in passé-partout including 13 whole plates. This was a major discovery – very early for the Philippine Islands – images of Manila from a wharf to housing and water landscape. 2007-2009

Documentation and stabilization was goal. Many plates were loose. Result in greater understanding of their material housing and to develop documentation guidelines. English inscriptions on the reverse of housings. Owners were English speakers. American settlers who arrived in the islands. Plates are stunning. Passe partout housing presented for full understanding. Early 1840 paper mat – additional beveled mat added after 1840 (interesting time line on passé partout format presented) broadens our understanding of the dating of these related yet different formats.

Investigation to determine if plates were made at the same time by one photographer – comparative study of inscriptions indicated different hands and location. Probably that some plates are part of the same group owing to housing similarities. Demonstrates the clear value of analysis of housing using visual assessment and study or corrosion pattern to indicate past presentation. Front elements changed on some of these plates. Very nice example of in-depth analysis of collection using careful visual study.

Hallmarks were studied. They did vary. (15 hold the same stamp.) Plate holder marks on some but not all – different polishing systems used. Yellow fluorescence visible on some plates. Does this help with the assessment of processing? Whole plates appear to be processed the same way? All created in the same context. Possible conclusion. Documentation guidelines are important – method used can be secured from Caroline or final report on line.