Daguerreotype of Susan Bainbridge
This daguerreotype reproduces a portrait of Susan Bainbridge, wife of Commodore William Bainbridge. We do not know who painted the original portrait of Mrs. Bainbridge, making it more difficult to determine how old she was or where she was living when it was painted, though we do know she was nearing the end of her life (she died in 1859) when this reproduction was made. We can date this object because of how it is assembled. Daguerreotypes are early photographs that were especially popular in the 1840s and 1850s. To learn more about how daguerreotypes are made, watch this video.
This particular daguerreotype is under a glass cover and bound to a type of mat known as a preserver that was not used until 1847. The glass cover and preserver helped strengthen the daguerreotype, which was prone to damage. The image is protected in a decorated box, which, like the image itself, is in good condition.