Oldest known photograph of a First Lady hits the auction block

Oldest known photograph of a First Lady hits the auction block
Oldest known photograph of a First Lady hits the auction block

Sotheby’s presents for sale a daguerreotype of Dolley Madison from 1846 recently discovered, taken by the photographer John Plumbe Jr.

THE New York Times explain :

Around May 1846, Dolley Madison left her home near the White House to go to the studio of an enterprising photographer who had launched a quixotic effort to create a daily publication featuring portraits of “interesting public figures.”

The capital’s first and reigning grand lady, almost 80 years old, sat for a portrait draped in a crocheted shawl, her curls peeking out from under her iconic turban. But the photographer’s business soon went bankrupt, and the images captured that day disappeared into the wake of history.

Today, one of the daguerreotypes made that day is set to be auctioned by Sotheby’s, which is touting it as the oldest known photograph of a first lady.

The daguerreotype, which will open for online bidding on June 12, is estimated at $50,000 to $70,000. Emily Bierman, global head of the auction house’s photography department, calls it “the most important and exciting photographic portrait to come to market since John Quincy Adams.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2024/06/11/arts/design/dolley-madison-photograph-auction.html

Sotheby’s
John Plumbe, Jr.
Madison, Dolley—Plumbe, Jr., John | Quarter plate daguerreotype
Lot closes June 26 at 2:59 p.m. EDT
Estimated 50,000 – 70,000 USD
Current bid 45,000 USD
https://www.sothebys.com/en/buy/auction/2024/fine-books-and-manuscripts-including-americana/madison-dolley-plumbe-jr-john-quarter-plate

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