Wilson & Steele (Steel)

1857                Rooms at Hebert’s Hall, Plaquemine, Louisiana.

Wilson & Steele (Steel) (Charles Wilson) were recorded in five announcements and two advertisements in the  Southern Sentinel (Plaquemine, Louisiana).  The first announcement appeared on January 10, 1857.  Ambrotyping.  See the card of Messrs. Wilson & Steele, who have just arrived amongst us with a large and complete stock of materials, for practicing their art to the fullest extent.  Their pictures speak for themselves, making any remarks from us almost superfluous. Our citizens would be well pleased by visiting their rooms at Hebert’s Hall.

The first advertisement ran from January 10 to 24, 1857.  A Card.  The undersigned respectfully informs the citizens of Bayou Plaquemine and vicinity that they have taken rooms at Hebert’s Hall, for the purpose of taking Ambrotype pictures.  They respectfully invite ladies and gentlemen to call and examine their specimens.  To those wishing pictures, they would say that they need not fear getting any inferior pictures palmed off on them, (a too common practice by men calling themselves artists, who, in reality, neither know or care anything about the art or its progress, further than to suit their own selfish purposes.)  Persons having pictures taken in the Eastern States or Europe are respectfully requested to produce them in our rooms for comparison.  We are prepared to challenge (superior pictures,) competition with any artist on either continent, as one of the party has experimented in the art from its earliest infancy, having operated with great success in the principal cities in Europe and America.  The patronage of those wishing Superior pictures is most respectfully solicited.  Call without delay as our stay is limited.  Wilson & Steele. 

The second announcement appeared on January 17, 1857.  Ambrotypes.  Our readers are referred to the Card of Prof. Wilson, in our advertising columns. It will be seen that he promises a great deal, but we are prepared to endorse it all, and will guarantee perfect satisfaction to the most fastidious.

We have examined his specimens, and can truly say that we have never yet seen any thing to equal, much less excel them.  They are beyond description, and must be seen to be fully appreciated.

Prof. Wilson is justly celebrated in his Art—has given universal satisfaction wherever he has been—and, as he will remain here but a few weeks, we bespeak for him the liberal patronage of our citizens, so eminently due to his merits.

Those who have old Daguerreotype pictures, had better destroy them at once, and get Ambrotypes, if they wish to “preserve the shadow ere the substance fade.”  Go and examine for yourselves.—Little Rock Gazette and Democrat.

We heartily endorse the above.  The Ambrotypes of Messrs. Wilson & Steele are unsurpassed in point of beauty and correctness of delineation.  Our citizens could not fail to spend a half hour delightfully at their rooms at Hebert’s Hall, admiring their numerous specimens; and once witnessing the faithful resemblance impressed upon the glass, we feel quite sure they would also feel inclined, as did their acquaintance, to transmit their features to posterity, for the benefit of the loved ones left behind, when the substance has faded away.  The above gentlemen will remain here but a short time, and the present opportunity should not be neglected.

The third announcement appeared on January 24, 1857.  The Ambrotype Art.  A writer in the Journal of Commerce gives some interesting facts concerning the art of photography, from which it appears that but a short time ago there were one hundred and fifty daguerreotype rooms in New York city, employing on an average five persons; but now, by the introduction of new processes not easily attainable, many of the old operators are irretrievable ruined.  The finer texture and subdued coloring of the plate-glass ambrotype led to the relinquishment of the metallic plate, so that the unnatural glare of the latter was avoided, the effect produced being more like that of a fine engraving; nor is the image reversed, as in the daguerreotype.  Another advantage is that the impression is taken instantaneously, so that the features are not disturbed by fatigue or impatience.  The photograph is another process much in use, which approaches more to the old style of miniature painting, the pencil being employed to a considerable extent, though the lineament and general expression an conveyed by optical apparatus, as in the ambrotype, except that paper is substituted for plate glass.

The above beautiful art of Ambrotyping is now being practiced in our town, in the highest grade of its perfection, by Messrs. Wilson & Steele.  Their stay among us cannot be of much longer duration, we learn, and those who have not yet caused their features to be made imperishable, by sitting a few seconds before the camera of these gentlemen, should not lose the opportunity; for it may be years before another chance like this occurs for procuring portraits of such faithfulness and durability, and finished with such skill and beauty by the artist’s brush.

The fourth announcement appeared on January 31, 1857.  Read the card of Wilson & Steel, Ambrotypists; their stay in Plaquemine is limited to but a few days longer.  Lose not this, probably, the last opportunity that will occur for a long time.

The second advertisement ran from January 31 to February 14, 1857.  A Card.  For the liberal patronage extended to us—by the flattering manner in which our Pictures have been received in Plaquemine—we return our sincere acknowledgments, and would say, that whatever good reputation we may have had, has been the result of a constant endeavor to please our patrons, and the persevering study of our art for years.  With our extensive facilities and long experience in the business, we are prepared to warrant satisfaction.

Our stay will be limited to a few days longer, during which time we invite all who have not had Portraits taken by our never-fading Ambrotypic process, to call and procure at once so valuable a memento, upon which time can effect no change; and which, for beauty, correctness of delineation, and perfectibility in coloring, we challenge the world to produce superior pictures! Wilson & Steel.

The fifth announcement appeared on February 7, 1857.  The Ambrotype Room of Messrs. Wilson & Steel seems to have been the most popular and fashionable resort for the past week, and to all appearances, likely to continue so for some time.  Their portraits appear to give universal satisfaction.  The gentlemen artists are very courteous and accommodating, and allow none to leave who extend their patronage without being wholly and entirely satisfied with their work.  Their stay here cannot extend to but a few days more, from what we understand, and we again advise procrastinators to hold back no longer.

Wilson & Steele (Steel) are not recorded in other photographic directories.  Charles Wilson is recorded in 1856 in Shreveport, Louisiana & Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1857 in Plaquemine, Louisiana & Tete, Louisiana and in 1858 in  Shreveport, Louisiana.

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