KILBURN, William Edward (1818-1891) (attributed)
Tinted daguerreotype portrait of a gentleman, late 1840s.
[London, William Edward Kilburn?, before 1850]. Sixth-plate daguerreotype with hand tinting (71 x 56 mm, sight) housed in its original plain black flip-top leather case (87 x 75 x 10 mm) with working metal swing hook clasp; interior with red velvet facing; the daguerreotype, with its seals intact and original glass and gold-painted pebbled brass mat, is a portrait of an unidentified gentleman, seated in front of a hand-painted background of sky and clouds, his left arm resting on a small table covered with brocade fabric; the daguerreotype has a tarnish “halo” at the edges (more pronounced at the top and bottom edges) and there are scattered (tiny) specks of dust underneath the cover glass, but is in very good, stable condition; the image has great clarity; the exterior of the case has some light scuffing and minor wear at corners and around the clasp.
A fine early tinted daguerreotype of a distinguished but unidentified gentleman, attributed to photographer William Edward Kilburn (1818-1891) of Regent Street on the basis of Kilburn’s highly distinctive trademark painted background of an azure sky with cirrus clouds.
William’s younger brother, Douglas Thomas Kilburn (1813-1871), was one of the most important pioneers of photography in Australia. In 1847 he opened the first permanent photographic establishment in Melbourne, and he is renowned for his series of studio portraits of Aboriginal people – the earliest surviving photographic portraits of Indigenous Australians – taken in that year. Douglas later worked in Sydney and Hobart Town.