Paris: Chez Crochard, 1839. 1st Edition. FIRST EDITION OF THE FIRST OFFICIAL & DETAILED REPORT FULLY DESCRIBING DAGUERRE’S INVENTION OF THE PHOTOGRAPHIC PROCESS. Note that this paper came out in July of 1839, meaning it was issued prior to the ‘official’ report which appeared at the end of 1839 in Comptes Rendus; as well, it preceeded Daguerre’s own 1939 publication commonly referred to as Historique.
The publication history is complicated. “A brief pronouncement” of Daguerre’s discovery was presented to the Royal society on 7 January 1839; it was delivered in full on 19 August 1839 but not printed until the July through December issue of Comptes Rendus (Printing and the Mind of Man, 318). The July 1839 Annales description offered here is, again, the first official report fully description Daguerre’s new invention.
“Each daguerreotype (as Daguerre dubbed his invention) was a one-of-a-kind image on a highly polished, silver-plated sheet of copper” (Malcolm Daniel, Daguerre and the Invention of Photography, Metropolitan Museum of Art). Its invention -- the earliest photographic process -- forever altered the way we see and understand our world. No invention since Gutenberg's movable type had so changed the transmission of knowledge and culture" (Montebello).
Prior to his invention of the Daguerreotype, Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre (1787-1851) was best known as a Romantic painter and printmaker and the proprietor of the Diorama, a popular Parisian spectacle featuring theatrical painting and lighting effects. "Daguerre's invention did not spring to life fully grown, although in 1839 it may have seemed that way. In fact, Daguerre had been searching since the mid-1820s for a means to capture the fleeting images he saw in his camera obscura, a draftsman's aid consisting of a wood box with a lens at one end that threw an image onto a frosted sheet of glass at the other.
“Not until 1838 had Daguerre’s continued experiments progressed to the point where he felt comfortable showing examples of the new medium to selected artists and scientists in the hope of lining up investors. François Arago, a noted astronomer and member of the French legislature, was among the new art’s most enthusiastic admirers. He became Daguerre’s champion in both the Académie des Sciences and the Chambre des Députés, securing the inventor a lifetime pension in exchange for the rights to his process” (Daniel). Item #896
CONDITION & DETAILS: Paris: Chez Crochard. Three volumes bound together, Volumes 70-72. Ex-libris with NO spine markings and very minimal interior markings (small stamp on title page and blank front flyleaf). 8vo. 8.25 x 5.5 inches (206 x 137mm). Volume 70: pp. 448. Volume 71: pp. 448. Volume 72: pp. 448. In-text illustrations and tables throughout. Tightly and very solidly bound in maroon cloth with a gilt-lettered spine; minor scuffing to the edge tips. Bright and clean throughout, so much so that we think it unlikely the volume was opened or used at all. Very slight age toning; bright and clean. Very good condition.