Wednesday 26 December 2012

The Third Man? Both Barry Millington & Wagner Society Victoria reply

We have noted what has become in some quarters a rather "heated" debate about a Daguerreotype found by the Kaplan Collection which they believe maybe the earliest photograph of Wagner (at 30) so far found. We have also, noted the Wagner Society's (London) balanced analysis of the image and its history which can be found here. Now, Peter Bassett of the Victoria Wagner Society has published an article which seems to prove that the image in question could not possibly be that of Richard Wagner. Using close analysis and pursuing the historical records, Peter seems to prove that the image could not have been taken before 1855 - while Wagner was in exile in Switzerland. The full article can , and should in our opinion, be read here.

On a related note - but not connected to either of the analysis already cited - Barry Millington (editor of the Wagner Journal and author of a new book on Wagner and his works:  Wagner: The Sorcerer Of Bayreuth) has recently been in contact and made the following statement:

"For the subject of an anonymous daguerreotype to be identified with Wagner, you would expect as a basic minimum that there would be a facial resemblance. Albert Kaplan's picture unfortunately bears no resemblance to any known portrait or photograph of Wagner. He's not deterred, however, even by the dimple, but is there even any history of attribution to Wagner? Apparently not. Mr Kaplan acquired the picture and decided immediately that it was Wagner. What can one say? "

Is this this the end of debate? Most likely not as we await the Kaplan Collections response. This is especially so as, despite all of this evidence, a poll at the Wagner Society (London), presently shows 76% of those that have viewed the image as believing it is of Wagner. Will this new evidence and comment change this? One can find out by monitoring - or taking part - in the following poll by clicking here