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Fine Double Armed Quarter Plate Ambrotype of a US Soldier with a Colt Navy and a High Grade Militia Officers Sword

Fine Double Armed Quarter Plate Ambrotype of a US Soldier with a Colt Navy and a High Grade Militia Officers Sword

  • Product Code: IP-1040-SOLD
  • Availability: Out Of Stock
  • $1,350.00

This is a VERY FINE condition example of quarter plate sized ambrotype of a Union soldier who is double armed with a Colt Navy revolver at his side and an ivory hilted high grade militia officer’s sword on his belt. Like so many Civil War era images, knowing that end result of the studio session would be a “negative” or reversed image on the plate, he has reversed the sword belt to make it appear as if it is on his “right” side. The unidentified soldier had his image struck in a studio setting with the classically themed background of either an Ionic or Corinthian column (which is hard to accurately identify without seeing the top) and a traditional balustrade railing as the background. As with so many studio images, the base of the stand that kept the subject immobile during the long exposure times necessary for period collodion photography is visible behind his foot on the left side of the image. He is wearing a private purchase single breasted infantry frock coat, which is identifiable as not being an issue Pattern 1858 Dress Coat by the lack of piping around the cuffs and an apparently lower than standard collar. The coat has the traditional nine button front and has been left unbuttoned, revealing a military pattern waistcoat underneath. All of the brass buttons on both the coat and vest have been gilded. While no rank insignia is visible on the shoulders of the coat, it is quite reasonable to assume that this young man is a junior officer, as the typical private could ill afford to buy a private purchase dress coat, and the presence of the sword belt and sword suggest he is an officer as well. Along with the coat and vest he is wearing a pair of sky-blue infantry trousers. His white shirt has a fall collar, which he has folded down over the top of the frock coat’s collar. In his hand on the left side of the image, he is holding a Colt Model 1851 Navy Revolver and the octagonal barrel is clearly visible in the image. As noted, his sword belt and sword are reversed in the image. The belt appears to be a patent leather one due to the reflections off the leather and is equipped with chained sword hangers. These hangers have been gilded as well. The narrow-bladed militia officer’s sword has a gilt knuckle bow and clamshell guard with what appears to be an reeded ivory grip on the hilt. The man has that disconnected “thousand-yard stare” expression on his face, which often makes one wonder how many of the men who went off to war and had their images struck before their departure had the prevention of their own deaths in the photographer’s studio. As is common in images of the era, the cheeks of the solider have been tinted.


The image is about VERY FINE condition. It is extremely clear and shows only some very light scuffing, minute surface scratching and some extremely minor freckled finish and image loss. This is an example of an image that looks far better in person to the naked eye than it does in a relatively unforgiving high-resolution scan. As a result, a number of photographs of the image were taken in an attempt to accurately represent its appearance “in person”. A high-resolution scan of the image was taken with the image removed from the frame, matte and boarder, allowing the portions of the image that are covered by the matte to be visible. This image has only been very slightly processed, in an attempt to make the scan look as much like the image does when it is in your hand. The closeups that are shown are crops from this high-resolution scan. The last two “pictures” of the image that are shown have been manipulated to make them lighter and to allow the details of the image to be more readily apparent. These are not accurate depictions of the brightness of the image and are only provided to show detail. The last of these shows the image “reversed” so that real appearance and right to left orientation of the negative image are restored. The quarter plate image is housed in a leatherette covered wooden case with a maroon embossed pillow opposite the image a dark red boarder around the image. The image has a gold foil matte, surround and glass protective cover. The case’s hinge is amazingly intact and original, but like all of these fabric hinges it is quite delicate and could be easily damaged or broken. As would expected, the exterior shows moderate scuffing, wear, and surface finish loss. The interior pillow shows the expected fading and dulling.


Overall this is really fine quarter plate ambrotype of a double armed US soldier with a lovely high grade militia officer’s type sword and a wonderfully clear Colt 1851 Navy revolver.


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Tags: Fine, Double, Armed, Quarter, Plate, Ambrotype, of, a, US, Soldier, with, a, Colt, Navy, and, a, High, Grade, Militia, Officers, Sword