A hand-tinted 1/6 plate daguerreotype which at some point has been the subject of a disastrous cleaning attempt. The tinting has been mostly washed away, and I think I can also make out some fingerprints which have left their permanent mark on the surface of the plate - but the superb skill of the unidentified photographer in capturing and colouring this pair still shines through regardless.
I'm not certain what date to put on this image - the little girl's distinctive hairstyle is one that was popular in the early 1840s, whilst the mat and case in which the image is housed look to date from the 1850s. I'm also not sure whether the kids' clothing point to the earlier date, if pressed I would guess they date some time towards 1850. Any suggestions?