Uncommon and large this Tappan & Bradford lithograph portrait of Daniel Webster is made after a daguerreotype by Boston photographer John Adams Whipple, most likely a memorial piece produced after Webster’s death in 1852. An example of this print resides in the National Portrait Gallery Collection, Smithsonian Institute which is dated 1852-53.
Lodowick Harrington Bradford (1820-1885) and Ebanezer Tappan (1815-1854) partnered in 1849 to form Tappan & Bradford, a highly respected lithographic printing firm that only operated until 1854 following Tappan’s death that same year. Bradford continued to do business as L.H. Bradford & Co as well as L.H. Bradford leaving the lithographic medium in 1860 and returning to his first endeavors in engraving. In 1858, along with Boston photographer James Ambrose Cutting, he was awarded one of the earliest patents for the photolithographic process in America.
John Adams Whipple (1822-1891) was a pioneer photographer in Boston spurred by his interest in chemistry. His entry into the new daguerreotype process began as a manufacturer of chemicals used to in the process which caused him significant health issues. He made his first daguerreotype in 1840 going on to become a well established portrait photographer patenting the “Crayon Daguerreotype,” a vignette tool in 1851. At about the same time, he made his first photographs of the moon at the Harvard College Observatory with William Cranch Bond. He is perhaps most noted for his astronomical images of the moon, Jupiter and the Vega Constellation shown at the London Great Exhibition in 1851 to great acclaim.
Whipple went on to work with William B. Jones and James Wallace Black resulting in the partnership and notable studio of Whipple & Black in Boston. By 1859 the partnership ended with Whipple continuing myriad photo process experiments. He also began to make many of his most notable portraits including Abraham Lincoln, Daniel Webster, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Louis Agassiz along with many of Boston’s finest.