Richard S. Sanxay

1856-1859       145 Main Street, Richmond, Virginia.

Richard S. Sanxay was recorded in twenty five advertisements and three announcements in The Daily Dispatch (Richmond, Virginia), and one article in the Photographic and Fine Arts Journal.  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 article in the Photographic and Fine Arts Journal (New York, New York) entitled the Photographic Galleries of America appeared on June 1, 1856.  Pratt’s Gallery. — This establishment is now under the management of Jno. Sanxay, who is a good artist; very many of his daguerreotypes are excellent specimens of the art. A slight cleaning would not hurt some of them. His ambrotypes are quite good in tone, but somewhat faulty in arrangement of position, and in finishing, he does not exercise sufficient care. I must do him the justice, however, to say that his experience in this new feature of the art, has been limited to a few months only; but as he is a young man full of ambition and running over with energy, in due time we may expect to see him a second Morse in the arts.

2.  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.                                          

3.  advertisement ran from October 10 to 25, 1856.  Returned from Europe.—We beg leave to inform the public the our 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.                       

4.  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.                                                                                          

5.  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.

6.  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.        

7.  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.                                                                                                   

8.  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.

9.  advertisement ran from July 7 to 13, 1857.1857 July 8.  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.

10.  advertisement ran from September 7 to 12, 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.      

11. advertisement ran from September 7 to 12, 1857. Persons desiring duplicates of the group of gentlemen, (delegates to the Presbyterian Convention,) taken by us, can obtain such at our Gallery, where may be seen a beautiful Photograph of the new Custom House, taken a few days ago.–Photographs and Ambrotypes upon the most reasonable terms, and in the most artistic manner, at Sanxay & Chalmers’, 145 Main street.

12. 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.                                                         

13. 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.

14. advertisement ran from November 30 to December 5, 1857.  Great Reduction Of Prices.  Owing to the dull times, we have concluded to take our Silver Medal Ambrotypes, at the unprecedented low price of Twenty-Five Cents.

These Pictures will be the size of those taken by others for 50 cents, and are warranted to be as good.  Sanxay & Co., 145 Main st.                                                              

15. advertisement appeared on December 11, 1857.  Sanxay & Co., 145 main Street, Pratt’s Old Stand.  Take their Silver Medal Ambrotypes for the very low price of 25 Cents.       

16. advertisement appeared on December 11, 1857.  Members of the Legislature Will do well to call at Sanxay & Co.’s., 145 Main street, Pratt’s old stand, and get one of their 25 cent Ambrotypes, or have their Photographs taken.  From one sitting any number of pictures can be taken.  Copies of State Convention for sale.        

17. advertisement appeared on December 25, 1857.  Veni, Vidi, Vici.  I Came, I saw, I had My Picture Taken For Twenty-Five Cents, At Sanxay & Co.’s.  Pratt’s Old Gallery, 145 Main st.  

18. advertisement ran on January 18 & 19, 1858.  25 Cent Ambrotypes, With Case!  can be had at Sanxay & Co.’s, as large and warranted to be as good as those sold by others for 50 cts.  Remember the place—145 Main street.  Pratt’s Old Gallery.     

19.  advertisement appeared on January 23, 1858.  25 Cents For Sanxay & Co.’s Silver Medal Ambrotypes, 145 Main street, Pratt’s old stand.

Those persons who could not be accommodated yesterday will please call early this morning.                                                                                                                      

20. advertisement appeared on January 28, 1858.  Splendid Photograph Of The Monument And Equestrian Statue, taken by D. Bendann, at Sanxay & Co.’s. Photographic Rooms, where duplicates are exhibited and for sale.  145 Main street, sign of Gothic Window.                                   

21. advertisement ran from May 17 to 19, 1858.  Great Inducement—Sanxay & Co., 145 Main street, have concluded to give every person who spends one dollar with them for pictures, a splendid Photograph of the Virginia Washington Monument.       

22. advertisement ran from September 14 to 20, 1858.  Ambrotypes and Photographs—The great depot for Ambrotypes and Photographs is at 145 Main street.  (Pratt’s old Gallery.)

If you are in want of a good Picture, call on Sanxay & Co.  

23.  advertisement ran from September 23 to 29, 1858.  Sanxay & Co. would invite those in want of really artistic pictures, to call at their Photographic Art Gallery, where they still continue to produce those inimitable Photographs and Ambrotypes, which are universally admired.

They have just introduced a new style of picture: “Crayon Photographic Visiting Cards,” to which they invite attention.  Gallery 145 Main Street, Big Gothic Window.                                              

24.  advertisement ran from October 19 to 25, 1858.  Strangers and others wishing Good Pictures at reasonable prices, would do well to call at the old established Gallery of Sanxay & Co., (Late Pratt’s,) where all the latest styles are made in perfection.  145 Main Street, Sign Big Gothic Window.                                                                 

In these days, when humbugism is rampant, it becomes a matter of moment to discover what is really genuine.  In the way of Pictures, we know of no place better where we could refer our friends than the old established Gallery of Sanxay & Co., 145 Main Street, where the finest Portraits are Made.  Go by all means and give them a trial.  145 Main Street, Big Gothic Window.                                                     

25.  advertisement ran from November 17 to 19, 1858.  Notice.—Any person having a Picture of the late Mr. John Stith, will confer a favor on his family, by allowing me to have it , it copy.  R. S. Sanxay, 145 Main street, (Pratt’s old Gallery.)      

The third announcement appeared on February 4, 1859.  By. E. B. Cook, Auct.

Pratt’s Daguerrean Gallery, Fixtures, &c, At Auction—On Wednesday next, 9th instant, at 10 o’clock, I will sell at Pratt’s Daguerrean Gallery, on Main street—

All the Apparatus and Fixtures, Furniture, Carpets, Sofas, Tables, Looking Glasses, Chairs, Materials of every description, &c. &c.

The above embraces a very large collection of Pictures.  Daguerreotypes and every article necessary for the prosecution of the Daguerrean business to which the attention of young beginners and the public is requested.  Terms cash.  E. B. Cook, Auct.      

Richard S. Sanxay is recorded in other photographic directories.  Craig’s Daguerreian Registry records him as being active in Richmond from 1855-1860.  In the first advertisement (May 17, 1856 William A. Pratt states that R. S. Sanxay has worked for him for several years.  Sanxay & Chalmers ran the gallery when Pratt went to Europe and after Pratt returned they purchased the gallery from him.  It is unknown when Chalmers left the company, probably in late 1857 before or after the November 7th announcement of the premium winners.  Richard S. Sanxay does not appear in the Richmond newspapers as a photographer after the February 4, 1859.  He appears to have been active in the Vigilance Committee, Masonic Temple, and the Richmond Light Infantry  Blues. 1861-1865[1] was a photographer for the CSA Engineer Department…


[1] Photographers In Virginia 1839-1900 A Checklist. By Louis Ginsberg.

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