Sep 27, 2018 - Sale 2486

Sale 2486 - Lot 327

Estimate: $ 1,500 - $ 2,500
(MORMONS.) Joseph Smith, the Prophet. Albumen photograph of a drawing, 6 x 4 inches, on original mount with photographer's backstamp; minimal wear, small mount remnant on verso. Salt Lake City, UT: Charles W. Carter, 1885

Additional Details

An early cabinet card reproduction of the best-known image of Joseph Smith. The sub-caption reads "Copied from the original Daguerreotype taken at the city of Nauvoo in 1843." Exactly how the portrait was transmitted into this form is a matter of some controversy. Glen Leonard's "Nauvoo: A Place of Peace, a People of Promise," page 788, states that this is "a steel engraving . . . based on a retouched photograph of an oil portrait done from life in 1842 by David Rogers." Research by Reed Simonsen tells a different story (found in the web-only update of his "Photograph Found: A Concise History of the Joseph Smith Daguerreotype"). He found that the publisher boasted in the Deseret News on 18 August 1885: "C.W. Carter, photographer, of this city, has in his possession a daguerreotype portrait of the Prophet Joseph Smith, taken in Nauvoo" and that he offered for sale photographs of a drawing made directly from the daguerreotype. Either way, the pose is now well-known, but this is a very early photographic rendering. We find no other examples of Carter's photograph in the auction records or OCLC.