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Jesse Harrison Whitehurst
Bird Hunter with his Dog
Daguerreotype, 1/2 plate
Larry Gottheim, Be-hold, Inc
Courtesy of Larry Gottheim - Be-Hold (50 / 7)
¢ plate daguerreotype by Jesse Whitehurst, with "J. Whitehurst's Light Gallery" on the deep blue velvet pad. Pinned to the pad is a newspaper notice: "Phil in his Sportsman's Dress. In two very find [sic] Daguerreotypes from Whitehurst's establishment, which lie before us, we have our friend, PHILLIP DOUGHERTY, in his complete hunting armour, with his noble pointer, given him by Dr. RIVES, crouched down at his side, obedient to his command. The pictures are very good, and we never saw Phil to better advantage. His lasses will admire these portraits of him very much, and we are not sure but they will get him a wifeą though he bears his age very well, andą fond of those sports of the field and th[ose] which try the metal of young men,ą he were married."
While there are newspaper accounts of the subjects of daguerreotypes, there are very few that refer to the daguerreotype itself! The suggestion is that he is showing himself in his finery in order to please his lady friends, and possibly induce one to marry him despite his age. His hunting itself is meant to be seen as a sign of virility.
Whitehurst had galleries in several cities, but perhaps the "Light Gallery" or other details can provide a clue as to where this was taken. It would appear to be Southern, likely Virginia.[MARK WHITE, WHO WITH HIS WIFE LYNN IS A SPECIALIST IN WHITEHURST, PROVIDED THIS INFORMATION: "You are correct that this Whitehurst image is Southern because Whitehurst did not open any galleries outside of Virginia until 1849 and this is an earlier image. The Richmond studio is the only one that we know of that was referred to as the "Skylight Gallery". We believe that this velvet pad was used exclusively at the Richmond studio in the 1840s."]
Sticking up from Phil's breast pocket is a leather-covered drinking flask. Horizontally above his waist is a double shot shake. The powder flask with its adjustable throw spout has been pricked to show its surface. His hunting bag, covered with netting is on his lap.