Robert E. Lee and Staff, Albumen Photograph in Contemporary Frame


Personally Supervised by Mathew Brady

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A remarkable photograph made under Brady’s personal supervision on April 16, 1865, the first full day at home after Lee left Appomattox. It shows Lee (1807-1870), as a seated, full figure and in full uniform, at the basement below the back porch of his Franklin Street home in Richmond, Virginia. Lee is flanked by his son Gen. G.W.C. Lee (1832-1913) and Civil War aide Col. Walter Taylor (1838-1916).

The clothing (only!) of all three has been neatly hand-colored, apparently with pastels and a bit of watercolor; Lee’s beard has also been whitened and his chair tinted. Otherwise the faces are untouched. The coloration is positively contemporary with the print.

Water-staining at foot and right side is partly onto the print (just brushing the lower portion of Taylor’s figure) but is not overly obtrusive, corresponding as it does to the sepia tones of the picture. Some sm. spotting and thin retouched scrapes in background areas.

A choice photo, in beautiful 19th-century gilt and ebonized wood frame with hand-incised decorations.

Lee, Robert E.: Brady Photo Original albumen print, “GEN’L. ROBT. E. LEE AND STAFF.” on heavy card mount imprinted at foot “M.B. Brady & Co. / Washington, D.C.” w/1866 copy-right notice. Half-plate photograph mounted on a Brady mount, approx. 7-1/4″ x 9-1/2″ (sight); 12″ x 14″ (frame overall).

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