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Daguerreotype

Size
Date
Country
Artist
Sitter
Case
Mark

1/9
ca 1848
Dublin, Ireland
Unknown
Catherine Blacker (Miller)
Flip top case
No plate mark

 

"Mrs. L Blacker, 1797-1853, belongs to N. M. B. Scott"

Catherine Miller + Latham Blacker.

(family tree)

It is an early, unmarked image with 4 small cut corners. She's framed with quite
a lot of head space above her. There seems to be a shadow falling over her on
the left, with the light coming from the right. She moved her head slightly and her
teeth are showing. The mat has an unusual shape. The photo was probably made
in Dublin, as they were free of the "Beard patentee" and this mat isn't stamped.
Catherine lived in both Dublin and London.

The photo could've been a present for N. M. B. Scott. The only Scott I found was a
solicitor who worked with her husband Latham. They worked on a case together in
1833. He was "E. Scott" so perhaps this photo was a gift to his wife who she might've
befriended. But she also seems to be wearing a black bonnet as if she is in mourning.
In 1848 she lost her father, when she was 51, so perhaps she had this photo taken then.
It's possible that Scott got this photograph after her death in 1853, as a memory to her.

In 1853 Catherine was in Ireland with 2 of her daughters. Her oldest was married at the time
and her youngest was only 17 years old, so perhaps the other 2 had come along on her trip.
They went from Cork to Dublin, possibly to visit family, on 5 October 1853.

They'd taken a seat in first class, which was the last cabin of the train and were almost in Dublin
when the train stranded just before Straffan Station. The stoker was sent to signal a warning
to the train coming up behind them. They hoped the train might push them to the next station.

After 15 minutes the passengers could see the train approach and were told to get back on
the train. But it was a foggy day and the train had not seen the stoker's red lamp. The train
crashed into the first class carriage at the back of the train, turned over the second class
carriage, shearing the roof off another carriage and drove everything to the other side of
Straffan Station. 18 out of 45 people died.

Catherine and her daughters had been thrown out of the carriage, which had been "crushed
like a walnut shell" and the coupee had been "cut in two by the collision", as the papers noted.
Both daughters were miraculously unharmed, though Florinda never married, perhaps because
of the accident. Catherine suffered a fracture of the leg and some severe injuries on her ribs and
inside. Surgeon Adams had her moved from the station to Dublin.

Two months later Catherine passed away from her injuries, on 14 December 1853.
She left behind her husband and their 7 children.

On foggy days the stoker of the train can still be seen walking around with his red light.