McKay's Shipyard, East Boston

about 1855
Southworth and Hawes (American, active 1843–62)


Plate: 16.7 x 21.7 cm (6 9/16 x 8 9/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Photograph, daguerreotype

Not On View


Americas, Photography



The daguerreotype firm of Southworth and Hawes was noted for creating incisive character portraits of America’s most prominent citizens. In an exceptional series of views taken at the shipyard of Daniel McKay, Southworth and Hawes presented a portrait of American enterprise. McKay’s technologically advanced operation in East Boston used steam-powered sawmills and derricks to streamline construction of his legendary clipper ships. This daguerreotype, originally vignetted by an oval mat, brings us into the heart of the business. Stacks of timber fill the foreground, while a construction bay and a clipper ship in the middle distance complete a story of American mercantile and maritime success.

MFA 2 Housing: Rehoused according to the procedure developed in 1995 by the MFA Paper Conservation Lab and carried out by Katrina Newbury. Plate received bare in Scovill wooden box.


L. l. plate maker mark: "Doublé/A. Gaudin". Spirit of Fact #10.


Richard Parker, Jaffrey, NH; gift to MFA May 25, 1994.

Credit Line

Gift of Richard Parker in memory of Herman Parker