The Daguerreian Society

On this day (August 6) in the year 1846, the following news items 
appeared in the"Pittsburgh Morning Chronicle":

   NUDE DAGUERREOTYPES. -- Boston papers have noticed the case of the 
arrest of a man for taking and exposing daguerreotypes of naked women, 
and condemned the practice in the strongest tone of animadversion.  This 
practice is not confined to Boston, but is practised in New York to a 
great extent by several good daguerreotypists.  Whether the mere taking 
of these likenesses by the artists be contra banos mores, or whether it 
be a just exercise of art, would make a subject for a very philosophical 
debate.  In Paris, the great studios have periodical lectures, for which 
rare specimens of actual and living beauty unadorned are procured to 
elevate the taste, and the first painters of the world have produced 
their master pieces of etherial beauty by aid of some living Clausins.  
The impropriety and illegality of taking them for the mere purpose of 
indiscriminate exposure, is beyond dispute, but there can be no more 
doubt that the artist has a right to take a picture of this kind for an 
applicant, than that an ordinary painter or a sculptor is entitled to 
the same privilege with a similar subject. -- Police Gazette.

(A note from Gary: I consulted my handy little book "Dictation 
Exercises; Containing Many Words of Common Use Whose Orthography is 
Difficult [1851] for the meaning of the latin phrase *contra banos 
mores*: "Against good manners")
Posted for your enjoyment.       Gary W. Ewer      

Return to: DagNews 1996

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