A Biographical Index of Daguerreotypists in Canada 1839-1871 by Graham W. Garrett.


Cat No.:   CA0246:

Compiled and written by one of Canada's foremost experts on early photography, Graham W. Garrett, this index provides the most complete and exhaustive listing of people and companies in Canada involved in the making of daguerreotypes using the process invented by the Frenchman Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre in 1839. This early photographic process was immediately in competition with an alternative process, announced in the same year by Britain's William Henry Fox Talbot, which made calotypes (also known as talbotypes) or to use Fox Talbot's own words, photogenic images.

The first daguerreotype to be taken in Canada was recorded in April of 1840 and soon there was an explosion of entrepreneurial daguerreotypists to fill the demand by people wanting to have an accurate portrait recorded without the high cost of employing an artist for days or weeks. The same growth applied to those engaged in supporting the daguerreotypists by providing supplies and applying post-process colouring to the end product. This trade continued for about 30 years before the daguerreotype, also called Sun Paintings and the beautiful mirror with a memory, was mostly replaced by images made using one of the numerous alternative processes which followed from Daguerre's and Fox Talbot's early breakthroughs.

This index identifies about 780 individuals and companies whose activities related in some way to the daguerreian process and includes all information that could be found about the location of their activities, their lives, their relationships as well as giving references to recorded evidence of their activity.

To further assist researchers the author provides finding aids to help locate listed individuals through their geographical location or by a selection of useful keywords. Further research background is provided by a bibliography of over 150 contemporary editorials giving the date of publication and identifying the newspaper carrying it. Finally there are nine appendices accumulating listings of nearly all the referenced publications, institutions, exhibitions etc. mentioned in the index.

Last, but by no means least, there is a gallery of 18 Daguerreotypes which are of historical significance because they are all demonstrably the product of Canadian activity in the art.


Everyone interested in tracing the origins of early daguerreotypes, and the daguerreotypists who took them, is going to want to keep this index at hand. It is expected to be the basic key to all research on this subject from now on. A reviewer of this index has said:


My lord - what a piece! Your work is really incredible - the minutiae of it all is really humbling. You've spent literally countless hours on this and it shows. This is indeed the place where one must commence. Get Garrett on dags is going to be some sort of byword I think.



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