1849 Franklin House, Charlemont, Massachusetts.
C. Vandenbergh appeared in one announcement on November 1, 1849 in The Daily Chronotype (Boston, Massachusetts). The Culmination of Art.—It may be questioned whether what has happened to painting by the invention of Daguerre, will ever befall the other branches of the fine arts. The grinding from hand organs of the exquisite strains of Paganini, and the bewitching whig melody of “O Susannah, don’t you cry,” bears some analogy to photography, but still falls so short as to require at least a monkey to make weight. The daguerreotyping of poetry seems a still more hopeless achievement, or at any rate, did seem so, till we became acquainted with the remarkable success of Messrs. Vandenbergh & Co., peripatetic Photographers to their majesties the million. At our last advices they were in a fine old Massachusetts country town—somewhat retired from business—whence a friend sends us their poster. From this truly photographic handbill we perceive that they have succeeded, with a success hardly known to themselves, in producing a perfect daguerreotype likeness of their own most poetical, not to say grammatical, conceptions. We cannot withhold from our readers so great a triumph of art, particularly as it proves how, by a sort of mystic attraction, the kindred arts are all hastening to the same culminating point, indicated by the pioneer Daguerre. The handbill thus commences in prose:
“The subscriber would respectfully inform the Ladies and Gentlemen of Charlemont that he has taken rooms at the Franklin House, where can be had or seen superior taken Daguerreotype Pictures, unrivalled for depth of tone and softness of light and shade, while they display all the artistic efforts of the painter, than you can wish to show. These pictures are impressed upon a surface of silver, coated over with gold, showing the colors, dress, and jewelry, which renders them impossible to fade. Satisfaction given, or no charge.
“Paintings and Views copied in a superior style, and with all the latest improvements.”
This serves admirably as foreground for the inmost poetical life of the great artist & Co., which is thus given photographically, verbatim et literati:
Science is advancing at a Telegraphic rate,
Since by they power oh mighty sun can sketch the
Tell me I pray, from whence thy magic art,
That from a single glance of thine such life-like start?
Here art triumphant our attention claims,
Here life seems speaking from the very frames,
Tradesman, Belles, Statesman, throngs our picture
Each form its living type recall,
Feature, color, altitude attire,
In beauty’s image all conspire.
Think not those pictures by the sunlight made,
Shade though they are will like a shadow fade,
No, when the lip of flesh in the dust shall lie,
When death’s grey film o’er spread the eye,
Those pictures mocking at decay,
Will still be vivid as to day.
On silver bright the likeness is impressed,
And coated o’er with gold, the tint you see
On the ringlets rolled round the bright forehead,
In beauty’s bower, with smiles and joy surrounded.
If there is perfect joy on earth,
That seems from artist to have its birth,
It is to see the likeness of a friend,
The father, mother, brother and sister too.
Words have no power to tell the joy,
The source of intellectual light,
But thought unites and reasons right,
Drink deep and wings its flight.
But if we wait, and go, where mourners go,
Where the marble stone appears,
It looks like the city of the dead,
And gems shine but in memory.
C. Vandenbergh & Co.
C. Vandenbergh is not recorded in other photographic directories as being active in Massachusetts in 1849. Craig’s Daguerreian Registry does list a C. Vandenberg who was active in Cynthiana, Kentucky in 1859-1860. It is unknown if they are the same person.