Early 4th Plate Jeremiah Gurney Ambrotype - c. 1852-1855 based on the "Gurney Chair".
I'm constantly looking for a very elusive and rare ambrotype image from the studios of Jeremiah and Benjamin Gurney. In the mid 1850's, Jeremiah had all of his advertising and marketing focused on selling John Bishop Hall's patented Hallotype, of which he sold at his New York studio and of which he sold licenses to over 1,300 US photographers. He claimed the ambrotype image was not durable enough.
During the years that Carl L Peterson (who once held the largest collection of Gurney images) was collecting Gurney daguerreotypes, he finally found one after years of searching. Eventually I had the opportunity to purchase his 6th plate wonder. I also found 2 more to make a whopping collection of 3. The problem was none of them looked like an image from Gurney's studio. The backdrop was much lighter than his daguerreotype images, and there were no distinctive table cloths to compare and no "Gurney's chair".
That all changed this week when I spotted a quarter plate ambrotype being sold by Kevin Canberg
on Victorian Images Classified. To my excitement, I saw what appeared to be the classic Gurney child pose, but it was in a brass mat - without a studio ID. BUT- it had the Gurney table cloth, child sitting on the small table and grasping the "Gurney chair". It arrived yesterday still with it's original seals, and no sign of ever being "married" with another mat.
Of the 4 Gurney ambrotypes I have, each one was made differently - like he was experimenting and didn't find a process that stuck. Perhaps Jeremiah didn't want this 1853 image to bare his studio name, who knows.
Kevin Canberra had her for years and decided to sell her to add some more Civil War images to his collection. Kevin - thank you.
Here she is - yellow tinted dress and all.