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Portrait Art, Cyrus W. Field, CDV, Carte de Visite, Antique Photograph
Cyrus W. Field
American: 19th Century
Carte-de-visite albumen photograph
4 x 2.5 inches, overall
3.75 x 2.5 inches, photograph
Portrait of Cyrus West Field (1819-1892), the entrepreneur in charge of the first transatlantic telegraph cable project in 1858. Field worked his way up from an office boy to a wealthy business man, who was able to retire at age 40. He began the difficult project of laying a telegraphic cable across the Atlantic Ocean in 1854. After many failed attempts, in August 1858, Field arranged for Queen Victoria to send the first transatlanic message to President James Buchanan, an event greeted with great popular acclaim. The cable broke after three weeks, but Field persevered over the next several years, finally getting additional financing and completing the project in 1866. n The photograph is a carte-de-visite, a small-format albumen photograph introduced in 1854 that made producing multiple prints easier and more affordable. It had already peaked in popularity by 1860, and was gradually replaced by the larger format “cabinet card.”