A beautiful image, radical in its context: America, the 1840's.
A photographic image of a large painting on an easel, the subject, two woman who appear to be lovers, or their pose could be described as romantic in feeling. The image, a daguerreotype, is a very early photographic process made on a silvered copper plate. The octagonal shape on the surface of the plate is tarnish on its silvered surface. This would have occurred where an early octagonal brass mat covered the area beyond the edges of the central part of the painting- the easel and draped background- leaving only the two figures in the center of the composition visible. Multiple brass mats are stacked around it, creating a shadowbox-like effect.
The daguerreotype is approximately 2 1/2 x 2 3/4 inches, and the picture is in a period and possibly original mahogany veneered frame that is 9 1/4 x 9 3/4 inches. The octagonal mat, now removed to allow the viewer to see the entire image made by the photographer, dates circa 1847-1848.
This work is clearly a highly sophisticated urban work made within the first decade of photography in America. Subjects and artist/photographer are unidentified.