Peticolas, Edward F - portrait of Samuel R Guy

Although, this miniature is unsigned, it has been attributed to either Philippe Abraham Peticolas (1760-1841), or more likely his son Edward F Peticolas (1793-1853). They were two of the few recorded miniature artists who worked in Richmond. The background is painted in opaque colours, which suggests an artist trained in a Continental style such as Philippe had been. Johnson refers to "strong dark hatches which have a peculiar splotchy effect" and that is the case here.

There is a record of Edward F Petticolas, aged 37, returning to Philadelphia on the ship Ann from London on 24 Sep 1831 and giving his occupation as portrait painter. With him were, his wife Jane P Peticolas and son Arthur E Peticolas aged 6. By the 1860 census Arthur E Peticolas was a physician living in Henrico, Va.

Johnson comments that both of Philippe Peticolas' sons were musicians and artists. Theodore, the other son seems himself to have had a son, Charles Peticolas (1830-?) who was a successful music teacher (by 1880 he was a Professor of Music and had three servants) and it therefore seems possible Charles may have, at some stage, continued the family tradition of painting miniatures.

The miniature is accompanied by an old handwritten note that states in part "This is the great-grandfather of Richard D Guy, and the grandfather of Samuel R Guy, deceased....."

From research, it is believed the Samuel R Guy referred to in the note is the Samuel Richard Guy (1888-c1920?) who filled in his draft card for WWI as born 30 July 1888 in Durmid, Lynchburg, Va, gave his occupation as machinist, and stated he was married. His marriage has been located to Mary Mildred Deyerle on 25 Nov 1914 in Salem, Roanoke, Va and also his death in Salem on 14 Dec 1918. There is a record in the 1920 census of Mary M Guy, aged 25, a widow with a son named Richard Guy aged two and a half. Thus this should make the sitter the grandfather of Samuel R Guy (1888-1918) and the great-grandfather of Richard Guy (6 Apr 1918-Feb 1988).
The portrait is backed by part of a trade card from "Henry Bodeker - Boedecker & Da... Wholsesale and Retail Druggist No. 1444 Main Str... Corner above St Charles Hotel, Richmond Va." It is framed in a daguerreotype case marked "Littlefield, Parsons & Co. Manufacturers of Daguerreotype Cases --- L.. P. & Co., are the sole Proprietors and only legal Manufacturers of UNION CASES, with the Embracing Riveted Hinge. Patented October 14 1856, and April 21, 1857."

The case also contained behind the portrait a newspaper cutting of a poem entitled "The Motherless". The author of the poem has not been identified, but the second half of the poem is included in the book "The Christian Home" by Rev. Samuel Philips A.M. published in 1865. The reverse of the cutting has references to Thos Anderson & Co. Auctioneers. (Thomas Anderson & Co were auctioneers in Louisville, Kentucky.)

Despite the above information, it is difficult to date the portrait. The case suggests 1860-65, but the clothing suggests a date closer to 1835-45, so it may have been reframed around 1860. The earlier date would fit with Edward Peticolas, although not the 1860 date, but if Charles Peticolas had also painted miniatures, there could be a fit for that date. By 1860 most portraits were daguerreotypes, which itself suggests the 1835-45 date is more likely.

From all this an attempt has been made to identify the sitter (this is also complicated by transcription errors such as Gay for Guy). Based upon the two dates, he would seem to be either Samuel R Guy (1847-?), or his father Samuel R Guy (1803-?) of Goochland Va. The choice of Samuel R Guy (1803-?) fits with both the handwritten note and a Peticolas attribution.

In the 1860 census, the Guys lived together with the rest of their family in Goochland Va, where the elder Samuel R Guy was a farmer and disclosed assets of $66,000. In the 1860 slave census he reported owning 35 slaves (20 male slaves and 15 female slaves, including children and babies), compared to a total of 14 slaves in the 1850 census.

The disruption caused by the Civil War has made it difficult to be sure of the sitter's identity. It may even be that Samuel R Guy (1847-?) was killed during the Civil War, but left a young son named Samuel R Guy (c 1865?-?) who was the father of Samuel R Guy (1888-c1920?). Certainly, there does seem to have been a tradition of naming the eldest son Samuel R Guy. 1194a

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