The J. Paul Getty Museum

[Fireman in Uniform Holding a Brass Musical Instrument]

Object Details

Title:

[Fireman in Uniform Holding a Brass Musical Instrument]

Artist/Maker:

Unknown maker, American

Culture:

American

Date:

1855–1856

Medium:

Daguerreotype, hand-colored

Object Number:

84.XT.1582.3

Dimensions:

6 × 4.9 cm (2 3/8 × 1 15/16 in.)

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Object Description

Perhaps this fireman's portrait was made to commemorate a heroic deed, for which he received the large medal suspended prominently on his chest. This fireman wears a full uniform with the hat of his particular fire company; he holds a cornet, the instrument used to warn passersby of the fire wagon's approach. Hand-coloring enhances the medal around his neck: the pale red and glistening gold draws attention to the medal and its broad silk ribbon. A faint rouge on his cheeks gives the sitter a warmth that the black-and-white tone of the daguerreotype was insufficient to portray.

The fireman's name, the reason for his commendation, and the place and occasion of his portrait have been lost to history, but he is far from anonymous since his likeness has been carefully preserved as a lasting tribute to his accomplishment.

Provenance
Provenance
- 1984

Arnold Crane, American, 1932 - 2014, sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1984.

Exhibitions
Exhibitions
Hidden Witness: African Americans in Early Photography (February 28 to June 18, 1995)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), February 28 to June 18, 1995
Capturing Time: A Celebration of Photographs (December 1, 1997 to March 1, 1998)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), December 1, 1997 to March 1, 1998
The Making of a Daguerreotype: Images and Artifacts (April 14 to July 12, 1998)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), April 14 to July 12, 1998