Archive for October, 2008
The “Thompson” Daguerreotype, taken in Richmond, Virginia in 1849, only a few weeks before Poe’s death.
The daguerreotype owned by Robert Lee Traylor. It was originally owned by Poe’s fiancee, Sarah Elmira Shelton. This daguerreotype, and a very similar one known as the “Thompson” Daguerreotype, were taken in the studio of William A. Pratt in Richmond, Virginia, probably in September of 1849 (Deas, Portraits, p. 58).
The “Davidson” portrait, used as the frontispiece for S. S. Rice’s Edgar Allan Poe: A Memorial Volume (Baltimore: Turnbull Brothers, 1877), is a greatly modified copy of this photograph.
The original daguerreotype, which has been badly spoiled by an ill-considered attempt at cleaning, is currently owned by the Poe Foundation in Richmond.
I believe I have a copy of this? If not I’m sure I put it in good hands. It had belonged to my Dad.
William Pratt (1822-1893). Daguerreotype portrait of Edgar Allan Poe.
Daguerreotype photograph, (10 x 7.5 cm.) Richmond, Virginia: Pratt’s Gallery, September 1849.
William Pratt opened the Virginia Sky Light Daguerrean Gallery in Richmond in 1846, seven years after the daguerreotype was introduced into the United States. As Pratt related the history of this portrait to the St. Louis writer Thomas Dimmock, Poe had never fulfilled a promise he had once made to pose for Pratt until writer and photographer encountered one another on the street in front of the latter’s shop in mid-September 1849. Poe, arguing that he was not suitably dressed, was coaxed upstairs and photographed. The image shows a man, as disheveled as he claimed to be, with a haggard face which betrays the steep decline in his emotional and physical condition; Poe died in Baltimore three weeks later. The enterprising Pratt held a patent on a daguerreotype coloring process, used to impart the faint flesh tone to Poe’s face and hand.
Thomas was a quiet, polite man that use to frequent FRECKLES. No body seems to know what happened to him? He had me take this 8×10 photo of himself to use as a promo-shot to get an extra part in John Adams. He had also told us that Captain Maxwell from this story was a relative…. I hope you are well Thomas.
Illustrator : C. Porter Vol. 3 No. 2 Spring 1985
Celebrate Halloween with Elvira at the Poe House
On Friday, October 31st at 6 p.m., Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, will be at the Poe House reading his masterpiece, The Raven. It is the kick-off event for a city-wide, year-long celebration of Edgar Allan’s 200th birthday.