The Cotton Merchant

I acquired this Sixth Plate Ambrotype around 2010. The image came in a half case with a rather simple oval mat typical of the late 1850s which is consistent with the subject’s clothing. He wears a silk cravat and vest, a white shirt with a turned up collar. He is smartly dressed and probably wore a top hat on the way to the artist’s studio.

The scan of this image is not as sharp as others I have taken due to the fact that the glass plate his image is on is bound to another glass plate. That dates this image to the very earliest ambrotypes as this technique was used from 1855 to about 1857.

There are no markings on the mat or image to indicate his identity or the ambrotype artist but he strikes me as a young 20 year old from, most likely, New England. Young men such as this gentlemen often took assignments as cotton buyers in New Orleans or Mobile.

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