England & Gunn

1847-1849       Southeast corner of Chestnut and Fifth Streets, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

England & Gunn (B. England & L. C. Gunn) after a cursory search, thirty-six advertisements and announcements in various Philadelphia newspapers were located.   First Gunn’s initials are L. C. which has previously been misidentified in several photographic directories and histories as Mille.  In the first announcement dated March 6, 1848 they are referred to has gentlemen.  Mille is identified as being active in the Photographic and Fine Arts Journal April 1, 1856, Vol. IX, No. 4, P. 124 in an article entitled the Photographic Galleries of America.  Number Two, Philadelphia. “Gunn, Mlle. — A lady artist. Success to her, whatever her faults.”  It is possible that other’s assumed since she was active in 1856 that she was the same person who was active in 1848?

Not being from the Philadelphia area, I am familiar with some of the daguerreotypist names like Cornelius, D.C. & T. P. Collins,  Langenheim Brothers, McClees & Germon, Plumbe, Root, Simons, and Van Loan to name a few.  But I was unaware of the names of England and Gunn.  If the newspaper accounts are correct and accurate they should be included in the photographic histories along with names above.  I am unaware of any identified daguerreotypes by them, but the advertisements and announcements do mention several daguerreotypes that were engraved, were they given credit for taking the original images is unknown at this time.

The following are a few of the advertisements and announcements.   

The first advertisement appeared in the Public Ledger (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) which was recorded on December 30, 1847.  Presents For The New Year!  Having purchased the Daguerreotype Establishment of W. R. Elliott, Southeast corner of Fifth and Chestnut Streets, and having fitted up the premises in a new style, and with entire new chemicals, we invite our friends, and all who wish to get a superior likenesses of a family group, to visit our rooms, The entrance is on Fifth street, and is pleasantly private.  Practical experience, and the superior advantages of our rooms for light, enable us to Guaranty, to such as have not seen our work, pictures of the finest and most finished character, and executed without a long and tedious delay.  Children taken from 2 to five seconds.  B. England,  L. C. Gunn.

The second advertisement appeared on  February 15, 1848 in the Public Ledger.  England & Gunn Daguerreotype Rooms continue to be visited by our most respectable citizens.  The pictures are admitted to be among the best that have ever been taken and these are the best advertisements.  Rooms Southeast corner of Chestnut and Fifth Streets, entrance on Fifth street.

The third advertisement appeared on February 19, 1848 in the Public Ledger.  George W. Kendall, of the N. O. Picayune, [celebrated] as the author of letters from Mexico, has been Daguerreotyped by England & Gunn, and can be seen at their Rooms, as also the likenesses of Major Bliss, General Quitman, and other distinguished individuals.  The likenesses are all pronounced admirable, multitudes are continually calling to see them.  Rooms Southeast corner of Chestnut and Fifth Sts., entrance on Fifth st. 

The first announcement appeared March 6, 1848 in the Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania).  Better than the Best.—We noticed in our last paper a large and beautiful likeness of Henry Clay, executed by England & Gunn.  As we now learn, that the likeness was taken at a private house, on a stormy day; so that the artists had but little opportunity for showing their skill.  The result, however, was so good, that on being shown to Mr. Clay, he consented to visit the rooms of these gentlemen, at the south-east corner of Chestnut and Fifth streets, where the admirable arrangement of light enables them to give a peculiar softness and finish to their pictures.  Accordingly he went on Saturday; and we have before us now the picture which was taken.  We can [ ? ] show no greater praise than to say that it is one of the largest we have seen, and that it is remarkably beautiful!—every way worthy of the subject, and creditable to the artists.  We thought the first picture could not be excelled, but this is better.  Copies will be taken immediately for such as wish them.  

The second announcement appeared on March 11, 1848 in the Public Ledger.  The Artist of our city agree with the multitude, that England & Gunn’s large Daguerreotype likeness of Henry Clay, is the best that has been taken.  Perfect copies are furnished.  Also , likenesses taken in the most finished and artistic manner.  None but the best materials are used, as the pictures testify.  Rooms at S. E. corner of Chestnut and Fifth Sts.  Entrance of Fifth St.

The third announcement appeared on March 18, 1848 in the Public Ledger.  The Hon. Henry Clay Again has visited the rooms of England & Gunn since his return from New York.  They took a full length Daguerreotype portrait of him in the act of making a speech—the only of him ever taken—which he has honored with a written acknowledgment of his satisfaction.  It is already in the hands of an artist, and will be given to the public in a style befitting its perfection.

Rooms S. E. corner of Chestnut and Fifth Streets; entrance on Fifth Street.

The fourth announcement appeared on March 28, 1848 in the Philadelphia Inquirer.  Mr. Van Buren.  Messrs. England & Gunn have just taken a capital daguerreotype of Ex-President Van Buren.  It is intended to form one of a series of engravings of our public men, which Messrs. E. & G. are preparing for the press.

The fourth advertisement appeared on April 8, 1848 in the Philadelphia Inquirer.  Gems Of The Art.  The Daguerreotypes taken by England & Gunn are universally acknowledged to be the gems of the art.  For fidelity as likenesses, and for finish and general effect, they are unsurpassed. One such picture is worth a dozen poor ones.  The Hon. Henry Clay complimented these artist by visiting them twice, and having a full length portrait taken by them, which is now being cut in steel.  Ex-President Martin Van Buren has also had a full length portrait taken by them, which is likewise to be cut in steel. Among other beautiful specimens in their gallery, we noticed admirable likenesses of General Quitman, Major Bliss, Gen. Jessup, Col. Whiting, La Roy Sunderland, Signor [Elitz], Elder J. V. Hines, Dr. Samuel Jackson, &c. &c.

Rooms Southeast corner of Chestnut and Fifth streets, entrance on Fifth Street.

The fifth advertisement appeared on May 6, 1856 in the Philadelphia Inquirer.  The Largest Daguerreotype Likeness of General Taylor, which has ever been taken, can be seen at English & Gunn’s Rooms.

It is to be engraved by Sartain, and will be ready for sale before the Convention meets.

Also, the best likenesses of Henry Clay, Martin Van Buren, Major Bliss, Gen. Quitman, and Col. Whiting, and numerous Portraits and Family Groups.

Enterprise and Perfection is the motto.  Rooms S. E. corner of Chestnut and Fifth streets.  Entrance on Fifth street.

The fifth announcement appeared on November 25, 1848 in the Public Ledger.  Two Premiums This Year, 1848.—The Daguerreotypes of England & Gunn have just been awarded the First Premium by the Maryland Institute at Baltimore, overall competition.  Add to this the Medal given to these artists by the Franklin Institute a few weeks ago, and it is very flattering, especially as they had been in business only nine months.  The public will see the difference between medals received several years ago, when the art was in it infancy, and medals received This Fall, over the very persons who had formerly received them.  Gallery in Fifth Street, just below Chestnut.

The sixth advertisement appeared on March 3, 1849 in the Public Ledger.  A Card.  As we are about leaving the city for some time, we recommend to all our patrons who at the present time may wish to get Daguerreotypes of the first quality, to call on Messrs. McCless & Germon, corner of Eighth and Chestnut Sts.  We regard them as our first artists, and recommend their establishment with the fullest confidence.  March 1, 1849.

Advertisement was recorded on March 3 to 8, 1849.

The seventh advertisement they were mentioned in appeared on April 10, 1850 in the Public Ledger.  Re-Opening—Thomas Colley, Daguerreotypist, formerly of 129 Chestnut street, has opened the Saloon lately occupied by England & Gunn.  L. C. being one of the oldest and most experienced operators in the country, invites his friends, and the public generally, to call and examine his Specimens, which they will pronounce unsurpassed in excellence by any other establishment, and furnished at the following Reduced Rates.

½ sized Plate, usually sold at $5, for $3!

¼ sized do      do         do        $4,      $2!

⅙ sized do      do         do        $2½    $1!

N. B.—The half size plate, being the most suitable for family grouping, is particularly recommended; and the cheap rate at which it is furnished will afford ample reasons for the wise and economical to patronize Colley, 142 Chestnut street, Corner of Fifth street.

England and Gunn are recorded in are recorded in other photographic directories.  Directory of Philadelphia Photographers 1839-1900 records the partner ship as 1848.  Craig’s Daguerreian Registry does not record the partnership, John references that in 1852 B. England formerly of the partnership.  This reference comes from an article in The Photographic Art Journal Vol. 4, October 1852, P. 249 to 253 entitled Mr. Hill And His Manifesto.  P. 253. He states that he has seen a large number of pictures in natural colors, taken by L. L. Hill, of Westkill, N. Y. and have no hesitation whatever, in pronouncing them truthful and genuine, and all, and even more than they have been represented…he signs his Name B. English, Daguerreotypist, formerly England & Gunn, corner of Fifth and Chestnut-sts., Philadelphia.  What he does not say where he is and if he is still daguerreotyping.  English does not appear in the Philadelphia city directories in 1852 nor are their any advertisements in the Philadelphia newspapers that I have searched.

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