Original sepia 2.5 x 4 carte-de-visite photo, by the “Lee’ Photographic Gallery,” boldly signed on the image in black ink, “R. E. Lee.” Reverse is signed and inscribed, “Thos Launens Jones from his friend Mary Custis Lee.” Photographer’s imprint on the reverse reads, “The ‘Lee’ Photographic Gallery, 920 Main Street, over the Richmond Musical Exchange. Wm. W. Davies.” Some light scuffing and surface marks to bottom border, a few surface marks and light silvering to image, and blocks of toning to reverse, otherwise fine condition; and an original carte-de-visite of Mary Curtis Lee by Boude and Miley of Lexington, Virginia, signed in the lower border, “M C Lee,” and also signed and inscribed on the reverse, “For my kind though unknown friend T. L. Jones, M C Lee.” In very good condition, with fading and toning to image, lightly trimmed top edge, and toning and mounting remnants to reverse.
Known as the ‘floppy tie’ portrait, this picture was taken in 1864 by John W. Davies in the Lee Gallery. Edward D. C. Campbell, Jr., in his article ‘The Fabric of Command: R. E. Lee, Confederate Insignia, and the Perception of Rank’ published in The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography (Vol. 98 No. 2, April 1990), wrote that Davies ‘made a single image. The picture was, in fact, a favorite of General Lee and is easily recognized by Lee’s closely cropped beard, ill-fitting collar, and drooping black tie.’ Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.