Alexander Doussin Dubreuil, Irish, fl. 1842-1845
Title: Portrait of Thomas Matthew Ray (1801-1881)
Date: 1844
Medium: Daguerreotype
Image: 5 x 3.7 cm
Credit Line: Purchased, Miss Ray, 1905
Object Number: NGI.2011.14.6
DescriptionThis early photographic portrait depicts Thomas Matthew Ray, a close associate of Daniel O’Connell (1775-1847). In 1843 O’Connell, a hugely popular nationalist, was working to repeal the Act of Union (1801) that had caused much oppression and injustice in Ireland. This image forms part of a set of daguerreotypes of O’Connell and the so-called ‘Repeal Martyrs’, taken during their incarceration in the Richmond Bridewell prison in Dublin in 1843. Like the other sitters, including Charles Gavan Duffy, Ray wears a sombre jacket with a stiff-collared white shirt and cravat.

Thomas Matthew Ray was secretary of the Repeal Association. He was responsible for printing and distributing addresses, promoting the Repeal Libraries countrywide and campaigning for the Association. He was deemed invaluable by O’Connell who wrote to his son John in 1840:"give your best support to Ray who is just the best man in his situation I ever met with, beyond comparison the best". A handwritten note among Ray’s papers in the National Library of Ireland (NLI 2120 TX) indicates that Alexander Doussin Dubreuil, who operated from Dublin’s 1st commercial photographic studio at the Rotunda, took these daguerreotypes. These rare photographic images were created just five years after the new daguerreotype process was announced to the world in January 1839.

Inscription(under image, on mount): Tho.s Mat.w Ray