James F. Chalmers

1856-1857       145 Main Street, Richmond, Virginia.

James F. Chalmers worked for William A. Pratt and was in partnership of Sanxay (Richard S.) & Chalmers was recorded in twelve advertisements and two announcements in The Daily Dispatch (Richmond, Virginia).  The first advertisement ran from May 17 to June17, 1856.  A Card.—For the last ten years I have received a large and increasing patronage from the citizens of Virginia, which I have endeavored to merit by introducing every improvement into my business, in which I have been greatly aided, for some years, by the valuable assistance (more particularly in Ambrotyping) of Mr. R. S. Sanxay and in addition, I shall hereafter have the services of Mr. James F. Chalmers—which, together with my own general superintendence, will enable me to accomplish, I flatter myself, superior work to any I have previously turned out.  I respectfully request the public to call and examine my specimens at Pratt’s Gallery, No. 145 Main st., Richmond, Va.

The second advertisement ran from September 25 to October 9, 1856.  Something New!—An Improvement on Ambrotypes, by which process the picture is made to stand out like the stereoscope, without the use of the lens.

This is an entirely new invention, and is infinitely superior in every respect to the Balsom Pictures, being much more durable and not at all liable to spot, (the great objection to the Balsom Picture.)

This style of Picture is taken at Pratt’s Virginia Gallery, 145 Main street.  The public are respectfully invited to call and examine the specimens.  All pictures warranted to please. R. S. Sanxay, Jas. F. Chalmers, Operators.                                                             

The third advertisement ran from October 10 to 25, 1856.  Returned from Europe.—We beg leave to inform the public thatour Mr. Pratt has returned from England and France, bringing with him all the late improvements in our beautiful art. 

The Ambrotype finished in oil, in the style of the old masters, far exceeds in perfection any thing ever before attempted, and throws the Balsom pictures completely into the shade.

Mr. Pratt will again render us the assistance of his valuable services.  All pictures warranted to please.  R. S. Sanxay, Jas. F. Chalmers, Operators.      

p. s.  The Altoscopic Ambrotype may also be had at Pratt’s Gallery.                       

The fourth advertisement ran from October 28 to November 3, 1856.  Pratt’s Virginia Daguerrian Gallery, No. 145 Main street, sign of the Gothic Window, where in the last 12 years, upwards of 30,000 portraits have been taken in all the varied styles of Ambrotype and Daguerreotypes.

The latest improvements have been obtained by Mr. Pratt in his late trip to Europe, and are now successfully practiced in this establishment, where we guarantee finer pictures than have been turned out in Richmond.

R. S. Sanxay, Jas. F. Chalmers, Operators.  Former pupils of the University, visiting Richmond will please call on Mr. Pratt, as above, and obtain their free tickets.                                                  

The fifth advertisement ran from November 10 to December 3, 1856.  Something New and Beautiful.—Acknowledged by all to be superior to anything yet discovered in the Photographic art as a proof of which all of the most celebrated artists north are taking Ambrotypes by no other process.  These pictures are to be had at Pratt’s Gallery, 145 Main street, where the public are respectfully invited to call and examine for themselves.  Daguerreotypes and Ambrotypes copied in any way to suit customers, and all pictures warranted to please.  Sanxay & Chalmers, Operators.

The sixth advertisement ran from November 28 to December 29, 1856.  Co-partnership Notice.—We the undersigned, having on the 5th if May, 1856, purchased the business Stock and Fixtures of Wm. A. Pratt, in the Daguerrian and Ambrotype Gallery, No. 145 Main street, hereby enter into a co-partnership, to carry on said business on the cash system, we respectfully solicit a share of the patronage of the public, and only ask for an examination of our work.  R. S. Sanxay, Jas. F. Chalmers.

N. B.  I have great pleasure in recommending the above gentlemen, my successors, as the satisfaction which my pictures have given, is mainly ascribable to their efforts-having personally done but little in the business for some years past.  Respectfully, Wm. A. Pratt.            

The seventh advertisement ran from December 23, 1856 to January 22, 1857.  Christmas And New Year Presents.—There is nothing more acceptable than a correct life-like picture of a friend.  And we ask the public to give us a call and try us.  All our pictures are warranted to please.  Call at the Big Gothic Window, 145 Main street, and call early.  Sanxay & Chalmers.                                                                                                 

The eighth advertisement ran from April 9 to 14, 1857.  Ambrotypes!  This great improvement in the Photographic art, far surpasses anything ever yet brought out, for durability and life-like appearance—never fading, but always retaining their original brilliancy.  They can be seen in any light and for softness of tone and durability, they far surpass the old worn  Daguerreotype, which, in many instances, fade in a few months, and in a year or two become entirely extinct.  All in want of a good Ambrotype, will do well to call on Sanxay & Co., At the Gallery 145 Main street, Formerly occupied by W. A. Pratt.

Pictures put up in the best style, at very moderate prices.  A few very fine Engravings of the Rev. T. V. Moore.  Price $1 each.     S & Co.                                                                                               

The first announcement appeared on July 3, 1857.  A Sign Worth Looking At.—Several handsome ambrotypes of Phoenix Engine, No. 3, were taken yesterday by R. S. Sanxay.  The picture thus obtained, is to be copied by Mr. Montague upon a sign which he is executing for the Virginia Fire and marine Insurance Company, the Design of which is highly appropriate.  One side represents a shipwreck, and the reverse a block of buildings on fire.  “Phoenix” will occupy a prominent position, playing away upon the flames.

The ninth advertisement ran from July 7 to 13, 1857.  Photographs!  Photographs!  Photographs!—We take great pleasure in informing  our friends and the public, that we are now prepared to make the above most beautiful style of Portraits.  They have entirely superseded all other known styles wherever introduced.  They are better, cheaper and more artistic.  Five hundred copies may be struck off from a single sitting, surpassing the finest steel engraving.  Sanxay, & Chalmers, 125 Main st., Sign of Gothic Window.                

The tenth advertisement ran from September 7 to 11, 1857.  Photographing.—This art is fast taking the place of Lithographing.  An Extensive glass factory in this city has just ordered 500 copies of a diploma, to be taken by photography, the copying being done as well as if by a lithograph.—Dispatch of Thursday.

We respectfully inform the public that we are prepared to execute any style of copying from Daguerreotypes, Paintings, Engravings, or Drawings in the best manner, at the most reasonable rates.  Views of residences, churches, and places of business taken in the most artistic manner.

Sanxay & Chalmers, Photographists, 145 Main street.                                 

The eleventh advertisement ran from September 18 to 25, 1857. 

“A thing worth doing at all,

Is worth doing well!”

So if you wish a good Picture of yourself, go where an artist will make a miniature representation of yourself—not as a caricature, as is so often the case.  Sanxay & Chalmers’ Photographers, at 145 Main street, seem to excel in the life-like expression of their portraits, while they have a graceful ease that is perfectly bewitching.                                                         

The twelfth advertisement ran from September 28 to October 3, 1857.  Choice Styles Of Pictures.—At Sanxay & Chalmers, 145 Main street, may be obtained Photographs of the greatest accuracy and beauty, Ambrotypes, Stereographs, Mezzographs and Likenesses on patent leather, which may be sent by mail to friends, &c.  Every picture taken at this popular establishment must be of the best quality and please the sitter, otherwise they will not be sent out of the Gallery.

Copies of the Portraits of the Convention of ’49 and ’50 will be ready in a few days.  All orders by mail promptly attended to.                                                                                          

The second announcement appeared on November 7, 1857.  List of Premiums Awarded At The Fair Of The Va. Mechanics’ Institute, November 5th, 1857…Class 26.—Photographs, Daguerreotypes, and Ambrotypes.

Albert Litch, for color photographs, a silver medal.

Tyler & Co., for daguerreotypes, a silver medal.

Sanxay & Chalmers, for ambrotypes, a silver medal.

E. Powers, for ambrotypes and photographs, first class diploma.

John F. Chalmers is not listed in other photographic directories.

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