Daguerreian Society

On this day (December 7) in the year 1839, the following article 
appeared in "The Albion; a Journal of News, Politics and Literature" 
(New York) Vol. 1, No. 49 (7 December 1839) page 391:
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   Daguerreotype.--This remarkable process has largely engaged public 
attention both in Europe and America; attempts have been made to 
improve upon it, to vary from it, and to impose new names upon the 
original principle.  M. Daguerre has consequently had much trouble in 
vindicating his claim to originality, as well as in protesting against 
innovations tending to deteriorate the value and utility of his 
process.  To this end a friend of his, M. Gourand, has arrived in this 
country and is about to exhibit numerous specimens of the Daguerreotype 
in proof of both its excellence and beauty.  We have been favored with 
a private examination of these specimens and are free to confess that 
they exceed anything of which we had any conception.
   The nature of the process has been freely described over and over 
again; but, in the manipulations, as well as great care and attention, 
are necessary; and hence it is that the effects produced by M. Daguerre 
are so far superior to those of others.  The pictures are, in the 
strictest sense, nature itself in little.  The degree of light and 
shade on the plate are as nicely adjusted as that of the subject itself 
from whence it is derived.  The figures and prominent parts stand out 
in round and accurate relief, softened with the utmost delicacy, and in 
the smoothness as well as quality of shade they are beyond all 
imitation.  Of course the pictures are the reverse of the originals, 
and this only is the point of difference; for so minutely correct is 
the reflection of the solar light, that objects altogether 
imperceptible to the eye, are reflected on the picture and discoverable 
by the help of a magnifier.
   We know not whether M. Gourand intends to lecture on this 
interesting subject, but we find him both ready and clear in his 
explanations to inquirers.  It will doubtless result in great 
advantages to the arts, although, so new is the subject, it would be 
premature yet to point out its peculiar adaptations.  In the meanwhile 
we most strongly commend this exhibition to the attention of the 

(As always, original errors of spelling maintained, in this case the 
mis-spelling of Gouraud as "Gourand." --G.E.)
Posted for your enjoyment.     Gary W. Ewer     

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