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Montgomery P. Simons [Attributed to] 
Henry Clay 
1848 (ca) 
Daguerreotype, 1/2 plate 
Swann Galleries - New York 
Sale 2208 Lot 33 
A commanding half-plate daguerreotype of Henry Clay, the "Great Compromiser," with an inscription, in ink, in a period hand, on verso reading "given by Henry Clay to Isacca Fuller;" in a leather case.
Henry Clay was one of the most distinguished figures in American political life. He represented Kentucky in Congress from 1806 until his death in 1852, with a few breaks for cabinet duty or a presidential campaign--he ran four times without success. A political moderate, he brokered the Compromise of 1850 that kept the United States intact.
A nearly identical portrait of Clay was copyrighted by Philadelphia photographer Montgomery P. Simons. Simons wrote in to the Photographic Art Journal in 1853 to discuss this sitting:
"My likeness of Mr. Clay, which has elicited so many encomiums from the press, and which you have been pleased to criticise so favorably, as a valuable likeness, is still more valuable for having associated with it a pleasing and characteristic anecdote of that great statesman. This anecdote made such a strong impression upon my memory, as being a most elegant impromptu, that I am now able to give it to you verbatim, although it has been several years since it happened. At the time I took the picture of Mr. Clay, he was on a visit to Philadelphia, and the guest of one of his warmest friends, Mr. Potter, who accompanied him to my Gallery.
As Mr. Potter and myself were about arranging Mr. Clay's drapery, I asked him if he had any choice of position; his answer was, 'None whatever, sir; I am Clay in the hands of a Potter, let him mould me as he will.'" 

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