Portrait of a miner
c.1870 Description: Copy of a daguerreotype. Portrait of a handsome seated man with watch chain with gold nugget and shirt with tied bow at collar | proudly posed with arms akimbo and beard-sans-mustache. Light tinting to cheeks.
Materials & Technique: photographs, tintype
Few gold miners made large fortunes and it was on the whole unprofitable with only a lucky few and the merchants on the digs and transportation facilities who made huge profits. Despite the odds, those who flocked to the gold rushes believed in the possibility of instant abundant wealth. This is a tintype copy of an earlier daguerreotype and shows a typical brashness. The Californians were the most enthusiastic and prolific consumers of the daguerreotype portrait and view. By contrast, the gold rushes in Australia and the Klondike Gold Rush in Canada produced almost no similar portraits.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra