Most of our information about Daguerreotypes comes from what we have found about this format in America. We kniw less about Europe. This is somewhat curious because the Daguerreotype was developed in France. It was the first commercually available photographic process. We at first assumed it was primarily an industry which developed in France and other European countries. We have relatively limited information on European Daguerreotypes. As best we can figure out, however, the Daguerreotype was much more popular in America than Europe, at least many more Daguerreotype portraits were made in America during the 1840s and probaby the 50s as well. Here we are not entirely sure why that was. The lack of copyright restraints seem to have been a factor, but there were other factirs as well. We note that the photographic business grew very rapidly in America. One source reports that there were 70 studios in New York city alone. How that compares to other large cities around the world, we are not sure, but it seems to have been many more thsn in Paris. Most of the auguerrotypes we see advertized on eBay are American. Very rarely do we see European dags. For some reason which we do not understand, cased images in general seem less common in Europe than in America.
America in the 1840s and 50s was still a European backwater. America was growing, but still very rural compared to Europe. And America was not as affluent as European countries like Britain and France. Thus we assumed that photographic studios producung Daguerreotypes must have been more common in Europe than America. We would have though many more Daguerreotypes made in Europe than America. That said, we do note that the photographic business grew very rapidly in America. One source reports that there were 70 studios in New York city alone. How that compares to other large cities around the world, we are not sure, but it seems to have been many more than in Paris. One easily accessible indicator of popularity is the internet. Most of the auguerrotypes we see advertized on eBay are American. Very rarely do we see European dags. For some reason which we do not understand, cased images in general seem less common in Europe than in America. What appears to have occurred is thsat Daguerre was unable to enforce his patent in America. Once men like Samuel Morse brought the technology of Dagerre's process to America, it rapidly sread without any legal contraints. Thus we have a relstively large number of Daguerreotypes made in America during the 1840s. We think there may have been other factors. Perhaps there was a more entreprenural spirit in America. There may have been fewer governmental and artistic constraints. While America may not have been as rich as Europe, we suspect that wealth was more evemn duidstrubuted and that quite a number of Americans could afford the cost of a Daguerreotype portrait. The Daguerreotype fter all was essentislly the democratization of portaiture. Only a relatively small number of people could afford a painted portrait. A far wider slice od society could aford a Faguerreotyope portrait, especisally a small-sized Dag. And the standard American Daguerreotype was a small cased image.
The Daguerreotype one would think would hsve been very popular in England. Britain at the time ws the most prosperous country in Europe, having benefitted from the Industrial Revolution and its expsnding empire. And technical advances could have easily have been brought across the Channel. Individuals were working on photoigraphy in Britain, but at the time that Daguerre perfected his process, there was still no commercially viable system. Thus one might have expected the Daguerreotype to quickly spread in Britain. It did not. And toiday while there are many photograph images of merica in the 1840s, there are realitively few British images. The reason appears to have been a more develooped system of copyright protection. Louis Daguerre carefully controlled the practice with a patent. Richard Beard bought the British patent from Miles Berry (1841). He carefully managed his investment. He sold licenses to would be Daguerreotypists throughout the country. Thus studios appeared, but a relatively smsall number compared to America. Beard took infringers to court. And the Daguerreotype had competition in Britain. Fox Talbot demonstrated his calotype process at the Royal Society in London after learning of Daguerre's announcement (January 25, 1839). The more modestly named calotype could not msatch the clarity of the Daguerreotype, but some considered it more artistic.
The Daguerreotype was developed in France as the first commercially viable photographic process. Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre (1787-1851) developed the process. He enlisted François Dominique Arago, a politically importsnt scientist to present his invention to the Académie des Sciences in Paris (January 7, 1839). Daguerre was offered an annual income by the French Government, The idea was for France to provide "the secret of the invention to the world". Thec French at the time were celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Revolution. This appsrently was seen as a step in line with spirit of the Revolution. Even so the the spread of the Daguerreotype seems rather constrauned in France. The first studio in Paris was not opened until 1841. About a dozen studios were operating in Paris (1844). Most were located around the Palais Royal. Many smaller studios were operating by the end of the decde. The growth of the industryseems more constrained than in America. We are not entirely sure why. Reservations by the artidstic community may have been a factor, We are not sure to what extent Daguerre focused on the business end of the enterprise in France. One source indicates that the cased Daguerreotype tht proved popular in America was not as popular in Europe. Many Dags made in Europe were apparently for wall hanging. I'm not sure hiw this varied from country to country. One source suggests that as the smaller studios increased in number, smaller images helped reduce the cost of a Daguerreotype portrait. There do not, however, appear to be a large number of French Daguerreotypes. We rarely see a French Dag for sale on eBay, This is rather surprising given the fact that it was a French invention.
We have little information about Daguerreotypes the German states. (A united German did not come about until later.) We have no information on just how popular Daguerreotypes were in different countries. As best we can tell, theywere not nearly as common in Germany as in America, A German reader tells us, "Yes, dags and ambros came in cases but I have never seen a German tintype in a case before. Actually here in Germany I see very few cased photos at all. On ebay.com are much more cased photos offered compared to ebay.de. there were cased photos but not as many as in the United States." We are not at all sure why there appear to be relatively few German Dags.
Ichiki Shiro created the first known Japanese photograph, a portrait of his daimyo Shimazu Nariakira (1857).
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