sixth plate, housed in an early leather case with a heavy stippled brass mat. A paper label on the rear cover identifies the scene: The rear of the house on the south side of Arch above 16th taken by W. G. Mason from his house on Filbert above 16th about 1846; another paper label on the lower edge of the case retains a partially legible inscription identifying the scene as Arch....1845. In this vertical plate, the camera looks out onto a rear yard of a large Federal style brick building. An arching trellis, covered by bare vines invisible in the foreground, and in the distance, a thin layering of snow covers a side yard. Trees bare of any vegetation imply the image was taken sometime during the winter or early spring. Relatively little is known of Mason's life and career. Krim (2004) in his survey of early daguerreotype views of Philadelphia found a number of images attributed to Mason, that seemingly were part of a series produced to document Chestnut Street between 1842-45. In contrast to the present image, each of the Chestnut Street plates illustrated by Krim were taken during the summer months. According to information compiled by Sarah Weatherwax at the Library Company of Philadelphia, Mason was apparently an engraver throughout the 1840-60 period, and we can only assume that his efforts at making daguerreotypes were strictly as an accomplished amateur (Weatherwax, Personal Communication, October 4, 2007). Craig's online registry of Daguerreian artists credits Mason with being one of the first daguerreians to make an image using artificial light. An important image taken by one of the first American daguerrieans.
Condition: Retains original paper seals. Plate with peripheral tarnish ring, otherwise unblemished. NOTE: what appear as wipes on the plate in the catalog photographs are tarnished areas only, and are NOT damaged or otherwise blemished areas on the plate itself.