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Early photographic self-portrait unveiled after 170 years

28 May 2013Written by ATG Reporter

The latest cameras and photographic equipment auction at Special Auction Services of Greenham, near Newbury included two daguerreotypes by direct descent through the family of Antoine François Jean Claudet (1798-1867), the property of his great-great-great-granddaughter.

Born in France, Claudet moved to London and opened a studio close to the Strand in 1841 to exploit Louis Daguerre's 1839 invention of the first widespread commercially-available photographic process.

Not only was he one of the first daguerreotypists in Great Britain, he is considered the greatest, being technically and artistically in advance of his competitors.

One of these historic images was a ninth plate self-portrait of Claudet himself, seated at a desk and writing with a quill pen, a painted backdrop behind.

Dating from between 1841 and 1844, it is possibly the earliest known example of his photographic likeness and is housed in a (tatty but original) folding morocco case with a gilt stamp, Claudets Daguerrotype Process, Adelaide Gallery, Strand.

Estimated at £5000-8000 for the sale on May 16, it generated considerable international interest before it sold for £30,000 to an overseas institution.

The buyer's premium was 15%.

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