Portrait of a Boy with Gold-Mining Toys

Object Details

Title:

Portrait of a Boy with Gold-Mining Toys

Artist/Maker(s):

James M. Ford (American, 1827 - about 1877)

Culture:

American

Date:

March - September 1854

Medium:

Daguerreotype, hand-colored

Dimensions:

11.9 x 8.9 cm (4 11/16 x 3 1/2 in.)

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This sweet-faced little boy, barely higher than the table he rests on, gazes at the camera. Families who had relocated to California during the Gold Rush often commissioned photographic portraits like this one to send to relatives back home. The photographer and the boy's family sought to capture the flavor of life in the West by showing the diminutive boy dressed in a Western outfit of loose, open blouse and boots. In front of him on the hexagon-patterned carpet, a pile of wooden toys represents tools of the '49ers: pick, shovel, wheelbarrow, and rifle.

Exhibitions
The Art of the Daguerreotype (April 14 to July 12, 1998)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), April 14 to July 12, 1998
Bibliography