I purchased this daguerreotype years ago on e-Bay just because of the simple, elegant beauty of the subject. The apparent quality of the image and the manner in which the subject was posed gracefully with her arm resting on the back rail of her chair suggested to me that it might have been taken by a skilled daguerreotypist. Once receiving the image and scanning it, I noticed a distinctive hall mark at the bottom right of the plate.
I had previously not seen this hallmark before but after some research, I discovered that the mark was attributed to Marc Antoine Gaudin (1804-1888) who took photographs with his brother Alexis Pierre Gaudin (1816-1894) a 9 ru de la Perle in Paris, France. The hallmark is described as a “GAUDIN DOUBLE, rosette, lamb (Agnus Dei) between 2 crescent moons, silver content 40.”
This daguerreotype was probably taken about 1855 based on the clothing worn by the subject—most notably the black lace fingerless gloves (called “mitts”) seen on the subject’s right hand which were very fashionable at that time.
Marc Antoine Gaudin was considered a pioneer in photography—a French chemist who contributed to the Avogradro’s Gas Law by proposing that some elements form diatomic or polyatomic gas. In 1853, he was credited with the “Gaudinotype.”