In the Full Light of Day
Unique daguerreotypes of and by the Enschedé family
F.W. Deutmann » Th. Hutchinson » & others
Exhibition: – 24 May 2009
1016 EK Amsterdam
1016 EK Amsterdam
"In the Full Light of Day" Unique daguerreotypes of and by the Enschedé family Including the very first photograph in the Netherlands This spring Huis Marseille will proudly present a selection of roughly seventy daguerreotypes, photographic portraits of the distinguished Haarlem family of printers, the Enschedés. It is the first time that these portraits will be on view to the public. The daguerreotypes date from the period 1839 to 1856. Among the exhibited photographs is also the very first photograph to appear in the Netherlands. This is a daguerreotype taken from a pastel portrait of Johannes Enschedé and is dated September 1839, almost immediately following the announcement of the process on August 19 of that year. In connection with this special exhibition of early family portraits at Huis Marseille, a publication will be produced. Johan de Zoete, curator of the Museum Enschedé, has written a photographic history of the family, in which the origins and development of these daguerreotypes are documented in an outstanding manner. Saskia Asser, curator of Huis Marseille, places the Dutch practice of daguerreotypy in an international perspective. Herman Maes, conservator of photographs at the Nederlands Fotomuseum, provides an account of recent conservation work on this collection. The exhibition has been realized in close collaboration with the staff and board of Museum Enschedé. On view concurrently with this presentation of old family portraits at Huis Marseille is Dutch Households, comprising the contemporary and topical family portraits of photographer Taco Anema. The immediate response of the Enschedés following the news of photography's invention give reason to assume that they recognized its importance. In any case, this new type of portraiture was so intriguing that several members of the family put it to the test and had their own portraits done. Their enthusiasm was considerable. The complicated daguerreotype process—which did involve some risk—was mastered by them, and they operated the camera themselves. Nowhere in the world have so many daguerreotypes of one family (not even a royal family) been preserved: there are precisely one hundred of the Enschedé family. This collection constitutes part of the Museum Enschedé, a thorough and well-documented archive of the family and their business. That is unusual, because most daguerreotypes in the Netherlands are anonymous, with respect to the makers as well as the subjects. Including the Enschedé portraits, 850 of these daguerreotypes are known to exist in Dutch public collections. In terms of its size, the Enschedé collection is surpassed only by that of the German daguerreotypist Adolf Schaefer, which comprises 124 daguerreotypes: these are not portraits, however, but images of Javanese antiquities and the Borobudur. (Print Collection, University of Leiden).