Sixth Plate Ambrotype of Railroad Workers by R.H. Vance, San Francisco

Sixth plate ambrotype featuring two railroad workers, both wearing hats and holding lanterns, one also holding a ledger labeled "Timebook" on cover. Housed in full leather case with velvet pad marked "R.H. Vance's / Premium Daguerreian Galleries / San Francisco / Sacramento / Marysville." Case may not be original to image, as we have never seen a Vance ambrotype quite like this one.

Sometimes referred to as the Brady of the West, Robert H. Vance (1824-1876), a native of Maine, opened his first daguerreian gallery in Boston in 1845. In 1847 Vance left Boston for South America, where he reportedly opened galleries in Valparaiso and Santiago, Chile. Vance arrived in San Francisco at the end of 1850, and opened daguerreian rooms in January of 1851, though his gallery burned down from a fire later that same year. After rebuilding, Vance expanded his business, reportedly owning up to twelve operating rooms in northern California by the mid 1850s. He employed artists such as H. Hanscom and Carleton Watkins and won multiple first premiums for his daguerreotypes at State Fairs. Vance is listed as being active in California until 1862, around the time that he sold his gallery on the corner of Montgomery and Sacramento in San Francisco to Charles L. Weed, who thereafter sold the gallery to Bradley & Rulofson in 1864. One of Vance's major contributions, a collection of whole-plate daguerreotypes featuring miners, mines, and west coast towns, was exhibited in New York City in 1851 before being lost in the custody of the Fitzgibbon studio in St. Louis.


Image with a few small spots of lacquer flaking off of back side, and an unusual spotting effect present when viewed from a low angle. 

Estimate: $600 - $800
Price Realized Including Buyer's Premium

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