Our Tenth Anniversary

Ten years ago we started blogging about Tasmanian photographer Thomas J. Nevin (1842-1923).  We look forward to another two years at least as the project draws closer to completion. Contributions and donations are most welcome, and many thanks for your involvement.

Email all enquiries here.


Elizabeth Rachel Nevin nee Day (1847-1914)
Original by her husband Thomas J. Nevin ca. 1874
Photo copyright KLW FC Group  © KLW NFC Imprint ARR

Categories: Nevin Family Collections, Reviews | Tags: ,

ANZAC 1915-2015

Great-grand-daughter of photographer Thomas J. Nevin and Elizabeth Rachel Day, Di Drew, directed this episode of the Australian TV series 1915 in 1982.

Episode 1, Disc 2, “Soldiers of the King” (1982)
Extract from Disc 2, ABC DVD 2005
Di Drew, the director of this episode

Visit Di Drew’s home page: 1915 gallery

Categories: Descendants and In-Laws, Videos | Tags: ,

Calling the shots in colour 1864-1879

Understandable, it seems, that a commercially produced photograph in 1860s-1870s Tasmania would show some sort of colouring to enhance its decorative or sentimental appeal, especially if the narrative suggested by the photograph was the civilizing of Tasmanian Aborigines who were thought to be near extinction by the last few decades of the 19th century, and that the photographic studio renowned for bold artistic experimentations with colouring was Friths on Murray Street, Hobart. Less understandable is the hand-tinting of photographs of prisoners – or “Convict Portraits” as they became known – taken expressly for police use as gaol records, unless, of course, the photographic studio engaged for the purpose of providing those mugshots was operated by Thomas J. Nevin, on Elizabeth Street, Hobart.

While civil servant and police photographer Thomas Nevin was so well-known for his hand-tinted photographs that he was taunted with derogatory remarks about his “ornaments of colour” when questioned by the Mayor in a police committee meeting in December 1880, the hand-tinting of these two extant prints of Tasmanian Aborigines (below) of photographs attributed to Henry Frith taken in 1864 is unlikely to be the work of his colleague Letitia Davidson, described in the press as a “portrait painter” who departed Tasmania in 1867. The hand-tinting on these two examples was applied by later copyists at Hobart studios in the 1870s.

Friths Studio 1864
The original session in which these two photographs were taken of the same four sitters, Tasmanian Aboriginal people identified by Julie Gough (see below, 2014) as William Lanne (male, seated), Mary Ann (standing), Trucanini (on viewer’s right) and Pangernowidedic (on viewer’s left) is dated 1864 and widely credited to the studio of Henry Albert Frith of 19 Murray Street, Hobart. The original photographs were mass produced over the next 40 years in various formats, as a large albumen silver photograph (NGA), as a sennotype, as a lantern slide, and as a plain mounted rectangular carte-de-visite. The originals were taken separately at Government House on the same day with minor changes in seating arrangements. Both of these reproductions were hand-tinted after printing at dates later than the 1864 original sitting, These two images were not processed as sennotypes of the 1860s for which both Henry Frith and Alfred Bock were renowned exponents, nor were they reproduced in the genre of painted portraits which were much sought after in the 1890s. These reproductions were delicately tinted by studio colourists in the 1870s, using three colours: blue, yellow, and rose, typically applied to some feature of apparel and to some facial features. This palette and application to prints is typically found on Nevin’s portraiture of family, clients, and convicts.

This first reproduction was obtained by Sir George Grey (1812-1898), Governor of New Zealand, probably ca. 1882 through requests in letters (Auckland PL manuscripts) made to the former Tasmanian Surveyor-General James Erskine Calder for long-neglected Tasmaniana. Calder sourced books mainly from bookseller William Legrand and photographs from John Watt Beattie whose major source of early Tasmanian photographers’ work for his own commercial reproduction from the 1890s onwards was the Royal Society’s Museum. This one sent to Grey was not a late Beattie reproduction; it was an older reproduction, a hand-tinted copy from the 1870s already held by the Museum when it was sourced and sent to Grey in New Zealand, and which he shortly afterwards donated to the Auckland Art Gallery in 1893. The second hand-tinted cdv reproduction (below) is dated ca. 1875 by (Prof) Jane Lennon, antiques dealer.

Auckland Art Gallery
Title: The Last of the Native Race of Tasmania
Production Date:
Medium: black and white photograph, hand coloured
Size (hxw): 200 x 170 mm
Credit Line: Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of Sir George Grey,1893
Accession No: 1893/2 Other ID: 1893/2/A

This second hand-tinted reproduction (below) was dated ca. 1875 by Jane Lennon when John Hawkins published it in 2008. Hawkins notes the seating re-arrangement but not the fact that the balustrades on the upper internal balcony on either side of the sitters are more visible, while the tops of the columns are not. This may be another photographer’s negative, perhaps one taken by someone working with Frith, Letitia Davidson, for example, who may have been present on the occasion, which was the annual Ball held at Government House in honour of Queen Victoria’s birthday (May 27th). The print is not as carefully reproduced as the one above, and the hand-tinting differs slightly as well. Any number of studios in the 1870s might have reproduced this less formally represented photograph.

The note to this print dates it as ca. 1875 (Plate 13: Hawkins 2008)

[Source]: John Hawkins, A Suggested History of Tasmanian Aboriginal Kangaroo Skin or Sinew, Human Bone, Shell, Feather, Apple Seed & Wombat Necklaces
Published Australiana, November 2008 Vol. 30 No. 4
Note to this photograph (Plate 13: Hawkins 2008)
“Courtesy Jane Lennon Antiques, Hobart,”

The 1866 Intercolonial Exhibition
Julie Gough on pages 45 and 46 of of her chapter titled “The First Photographs of Tasmanian Aboriginal People” in Calling the shots: Indigenous photographies edited by Jane Lydon (2014), suggests that  Henry Frith’s assistant, Letitia Davidson took this photograph of two women (below) at Oyster Cove, one of a collection held at the State library of NSW with attribution to Francis Russell Nixon, dated 1858 (reproduced by Beattie 1890, 1899).

This photograph is not hand-tinted.

Julie Gough presumes Mrs Davidson visited Oyster Cove to take the photograph:

“Mrs Davidson was the sister of Henry Albert Frith, and his photographic hand colourist. One of Frith’s last Hobart commissions was his famous August 1864 sennotype of William Lanne, Mary Ann, Trucanini and Pangernowidedic at Government House, which was mass produced and also popular as a glass lantern slide. When Frith departed Hobart soon after, it was his sister,  Davidson, who applied to the Royal Society, along with with Samuel Clifford, Charles Woolley and Alfred Bock, to be commissioned to make photographs of the Tasmanian Aborigines (by which was meant those living at Oyster Cove) for the 1866 Intercolonial Exhibition in Melbourne. Charles Woolley was awarded the commission, given his influential connections [footnote 74]. The other applicants planned to visit Oyster Cove to take their photographs, whereas Woolley’s resultant early examples of anthropological photography were indoor studio works [footnote75]. Davidson, it is presumed, not to be deterred, did visit Oyster Cove and made photographs that were exhibited along with Woolley’s in Melbourne [footnote 76].”

Source: Calling the Shots at Google books

The basis for Julie Gough’s attribution of this photograph of two Aboriginal women to Mrs Davidson, Murray Street, Hobart is this entry on the 1866 Intercolonial Exhibition Catalogue (above, p.83, State Library of Victoria; also on p. 87 in this version) which lists Mrs Davidson’s exhibit as:

7l4~Davidson, Mrs., Murray-st., Hobart Town.—Photographs of two Aboriginal women

Yet this entry in the 1866 Exhibition catalogue is somewhat ambiguous: it implies that Mrs Davidson exhibited not one but several photographs of two women, and does not state whether the two women were photographed as a couple in a single portrait, or whether there were several versions of this couple photographed together, or whether these two women were each photographed individually.

Julie Gough has chosen this photograph of two Aboriginal women sitting together, held at the State Library of NSW, conventionally attributed to Bishop Nixon (1858, reproduced by J. W. Beattie (1890s), as Mrs Davidson’s work, which is catalogued as “2. … Wapperty, Bessy Clarke” at PXD 571 – Digital Order Number: a1897002. It would be a small step therefore to revise the Nixon attribution to more in this Nixon series, for example the cdv single portrait at PXD 571 a1897017. Mrs Davidson’s dagueurreotypes have yet to be identified, as well.

Mrs Davidson was a “portrait painter” at Murray St Hobart by 1861, according to the newspaper report of a theft from her shop of a daquerreotype by a woman called Mary Hughes (Mercury, 9 April 1861). Julie Gough has designated Mrs Davidson’s role that of  a “colourist”  and not a “portrait painter” .The latter occupation involved a good deal more than the hand-tinting of facial features and items of clothing on prints in the years when the sennotype was a patented and complex format much sought out by the clients at Mrs Davidson’s studio, 1864-65 with the Frith brothers. However, the portrait of two Aboriginal women chosen for re-attribution to Mrs Davidson is not hand-coloured, so the occupational term “colourist” applied to this appellate case somewhat contradicts or undermines an otherwise interesting re-attribution.

So, what did the Jurors of the 1866 Intercolonial Exhibition of Australasia, Melbourne think of photographs “touched” with colour, and who won medals? They ranked tinted and coloured photographs as second class. It might well have been the case that Letitia Davidson’s photographs of two Aboriginal women were tinted or coloured (not known to exist or identified at this point in time), and forfeited consideration as a result. The usual Tasmanian photographers of the mid 1860s won medals: Morton Allport, William Cawston, Henry Hall Bailey [sic], Samuel Clifford, Stephen Spurling, and Charles A. Woolley for his Aboriginal portraits.


“The Jurors regret that so large a proportion of the exhibits are ‘touched’, the merit being divided between the photographer and the artist. Admitting that many of the tinted and coloured photographs are entitled to much commendation, the Jurors are of the opinion that the purely untouched specimens should stand first in the order of desert.”

The catalogue on pps 350-351.

Researchers Davies & Stanbury listed Mrs Davidson as a photographer in Hobart 1862-1867 and Melbourne 1869-1870. The general consensus in the 1990s from photohistorians was that none of Mrs Davidson’s works are extant. Clearly, more research is needed, especially as Mrs Davidson was publicly acknowledged in 1861 as a portrait painter whose daguerreotypes were available at her shop in Murray Street.

Letitia Davidson, the daguerreotype and Mary Hughes
Prosecutrix Letitia Davidson, portrait painter, Murray St. Hobart, had not even noticed a daguerreotype was missing from the counter in the shop and studio she operated with brothers Frederick and Henry Frith until it was brought back to her for identification by Detective Macguire. Despite the return of the daguerreotype, hardly missed in any event, and despite knowing that the offender Mary Hughes was an elderly  beggar from an earlier encounter at her house, Mrs Davidson somewhat heartlessly prosecuted the case, resulting in a three month sentence with hard labour for Mary Hughes.

Mary Hughes remanded on a charge of stealing a daguerreotype portrait, the property of Letitia Davidson.

The Mercury 9 April 1861

Mary Hughes had tried pawning the daguerreotype but the pawnbroker Mrs S. W. Roberts retained it and notified police, resulting in three months’ imprisonment with hard labor for this theft from Mrs Davidson (The Mercury 10 April 1861). Mary Hughes was repeatedly imprisoned for begging, the last recorded sentence being 1868.

Mary Hughes, transported on the convict ship Westmoreland, tried in the Supreme Court Hobart on 31st January 1868, born in England, aged 70 yrs old, height 4’10”. grey hair, Free in Servitude, was discharged from the Hobart Gaol on 29th April 1868, having served a three month sentence for begging.

Thomas Nevin’s coloured convict portraits
Vignetted portraits of Tasmanian convicts from the 1870s-1880s are relatively rare, and hand-tinted portraits even more remarkable, given the photographs were taken for daily use by police in the course of surveillance, detection and arrest.

Prisoners John Britton or Brittain (No. 417) and David Clark (No. 421)
Absconders detained as “paupers” at the Invalid Depots, Hobart, Tasmania 
Hand-tinted photographs by Thomas J. Nevin 1874-1879.
Photos recto and verso copyright © KLW NFC Imprint 2014-2015
Taken at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, 10 November 2014

CAUTION: These photographs are all WATERMARKED

Verso: Prisoners John Britton or Brittain (No. 417) and David Clark (No. 421)
Absconders detained as “paupers” at the Invalid Depots, Hobart, Tasmania 
Hand-tinted photographs by Thomas J. Nevin 1874-1879.
Photos recto and verso copyright © KLW NFC Imprint 2014-2015
Taken at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, 10 November 2014u

These two carte-de-visite prisoner identification photogaphs (portraits or mugshots) were taken and printed by commercial photographer Thomas J. Nevin ca. 1874 for the Municipal Police Office registry, Hobart Town Hall, while he was still operating from his studio, the City Photographic Establishment, 140 Elizabeth St. Hobart. Nevin and his assistants took some time over these two prisoner photographs, printing them as vignettes (cloudy background) and hand-tinting the prison-issue, check-patterned scarf in light blue to better identify the sitter as a prisoner. At least five more of these hand-tinted prisoner photographs by Nevin are held in public institutions (see more below from the NLA, TMAG, and SLNSW).

Someone removed these two originals from the prisoner’s criminal record sheet at an unknown date. The versos show a strong fabric weave, suggesting the photographs were originally pasted to parchment, as some were. For example, Nevin’s photograph of prisoner Allan Williamson on display at the Penitentiary Chapel Historic Site, was attached to Williamson’s original parchment rap sheet. Hundreds of these 1870s mugshots in national collections were removed in similar manner and for at least three reasons: an attempt to destroy any association with convict ancestry by the living, especially photographic records; salvage for commercial exploitation to encourage tourism by selling or displaying single items in private and public museums (1890s and 1930s ); or simply because of deterioration in poor storage conditions (1950s, Hobart Gaol.)

Parchment rots and stinks when damp and poorly stored. The Sheriff’s Office at the Hobart Gaol handed over bundles of rotting prison records to the Archives Office of Tasmania in 1955, some from the Benevolent society. Estrays which had been salvaged by government photographer John Beattie from the Hobart Gaol photographer’s room above the laundry before it was demolished in 1915, were displayed in his “Port Arthur” convictaria museum in Hobart, and bequeathed to the Launceston City and QVMAG on his death in 1930. Others were privately collected by David Scott Mitchell at the State Library of NSW (1907), and Dr Neil Gunson, National Library, Canberra (1964). or auctioned off, at least from the late 1890s to the 1960s. A selection of the extant 300 or so at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston were exhibited as Thomas J. Nevin’s prison photography in 1977. A hundred or more prisoner photographs from Beattie’s collection were thereafter dispersed piecemeal to national and state libraries and museums.

A significant number of Nevin’s duplicates of his originals, and there were at least four made from every negative, were stand-alone cartes-de-visite, often the result of producing more from the same negative when the offender committed or was suspected of further crimes. Despite their long journey from Nevin’s hand in the 1870s to the present day, these two prisoner photographs representing John Britton and David Clark have retained a certain delicacy and freshness which must have stirred an aesthetic appreciation in the depositor at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. But are they objets-d’art or are they vernacular records? Thomas J. Nevin was mocked for his photographic “ornaments of colour” by the representative defending two police constables at the Mayor’s Court meeting of the Police Committee. That meeting effected his removal from full-time civil service with the Hobart City Corporation on a trumped-up charge on December 3rd, 1880. His detractors had these two and the other tinted prisoner mugshots in mind: ornaments such as these were judged all too inappropriate for representing the likeness of common criminals.

Prisoner John Britton or Brittain
This vignetted carte-de-visite prisoner identification photograph of a “pauper” was taken of John Britton, as he was known to the police in 1879, but he was transported to VDL (Tasmania) in 1842 as John Brittain on board the Candahar. He was 26 yrs old when he arrived in VDL 1842, born ca.1816 and by 1874 when this photograph was taken, he was ca. 58 yrs old.

Prisoner John Britton, transported per the Candahar (1842)
Detained at the Brickfields Depot for Paupers for 4 yrs (1874-1879)
Prisoner number 26 (1874) and number 417 (1879), Absconded in government clothing
Discharged from the Brickfields Depot for Paupers 25 November 1879

Photos recto and verso copyright © KLW NFC Imprint 2014-2015
Taken at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, 10 November 2014


Archives Office Tasmania
Name: Brittain, John
Record Type: Convicts
Arrival date: 21 Jul 1842
Departure date: 2 Apr 1842
Departure port: Spithead
Ship: Candahar
Voyage number: 194
Index number: 7367
Document ID:
Conduct Record CON33/1/23
Description List CON18/1/31 Page 163
Indent CON14/1/14
Muster RollCON 28/1/1

Prisoner David Clark

Absconder from Brickfields
Photos recto and verso copyright © KLW NFC Imprint 2014-2015
Taken at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, 10 November 2014

The Returns of Paupers in the Police Gazettes assign a number to the Brickfields Depot and to the Cascades Depot inmates, and some but not others to the inmates at the Invalid Depot, New Town which was close by to Nevin’s photographic studio established by 1864 at New Town and maintained until 1888 concurrently with his City studio. This inmate was not to be found in the Police Gazette records with the number assigned by Authority (No. 421) written on the back of his photograph, so he may have been photographed by Nevin at the New Town depot. The similiarities between the two photographs, however, suggest a common place of capture and the same photographer and colourist, so Britain’s mugshot taken at Brickfields (North Hobart depot) seems to be the common place for both photographic captures.

The second problem – apart from not locating his name in the Police Gazettes with his number 421 – nor identifying him from Returns of convictions and discharges recorded in the police gazettes 1866-1885, is the possibility that he was transported on the ship David Clarke, rather than being a man called David Clark, although there are many convicts called David Clark(e) who might fit his description.

Absconders from Invalid Depot, Cascades 1879

More examples by Nevin
These are more examples of hand-tinted photographs of Tasmanian prisoners 1870s-1880s by T. Nevin held at the National Library of Australia and the State Library of NSW:

Detail of the tinted photograph (below on right) of prisoner Walter Johnstone aka Henry Bramall
NLA Catalogue  nla.pic-vn4270027.
Photo copyright © KLW NFC 2015 ARR. Watermarked.

Johnstone aka Bramall or Taylor absconded, reported February 6, 1874
Source: Tasmania Reports on Crime for Police Information

Walter Johnstone aka Henry Bramall aka Taylor
NLA Collection  nla.pic-vn4270027
Vignette on left, not tinted but mounted, and hand-tinted mounted cdv 
Original prisoner mugshots by T. J. Nevin 1874
Photos recto and verso taken at the National Library of Australia, 7th Feb 2015
Photos copyright © KLW NFC 2015 ARR. Watermarked.

William Campbell, hanged as Job Smith 1875 
NLA Collection nla.pic-vn4270353
Hand-tinted vignetted and mounted prisoner portrait by T.J. Nevin 1874
Photos taken at the National Library of Australia, 7th Feb 2015
Photos copyright © KLW NFC 2015 ARR. Watermarked.

The Death Warrant for James Sutherland, 23rd May 1883
Hand-tinted mounted cdv by Thomas J. Nevin 1880s
Mitchell Library SLNSW
Tasmania. Supreme Court – Death warrants and related papers, 1818-1884
Mitchell Bequest, 1907
Call Number C 202 – C 203
Taken at the State Library NSW
Photo copyright © KLW NFC Imprint 2009 ARR

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Categories: 19th Century Prison Photography, Exhibitions and Publications, Mitchell Library NSW, National Library of Australia, Police mugshots by Nevin, Police Records, TMAG | Tags: , , , , ,

A supine “selfie” by Thomas J. Nevin 1870


The small bowler hat and patterned waistcoat are unmistakeable, so is the beard. Is this a supine “selfie” or was Thomas J. Nevin and his friend photographed with his own camera at the Queen’s Domain (Hobart) ca. 1870 by his brother Jack Nevin?

Stereograph by Thomas J. Nevin, ca. 1870 
Self portrait (in hat) and male friend reclining on the Queen’s Domain, Government House in distance.
Verso blank, inscription “Domain Hobart per G. T. Stilwell, Librarian, SLT.”
Photos recto and verso copyright © KLW NFC Imprint 2014-2015
Taken at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, 10 November 2014
TMAG Ref: Q16826.3

‘Self-portrait’ shutters were not introduced until the early 1900s so this photograph, or indeed many taken in the 1860s-70s, cannot strictly be termed a “selfie”. The supine pose in these outdoor photographs of the period, of men in particular, was due partly to the size, the focal length, width and aperture of stereo lens types available and partly because a standing rather than reclining figure in the foreground deflects the eye from a distant focal point, which in this example was one carrying a salient message about Empire and Colonial stability, the new Government House (completed 1857). The invisible photographer was present in at least five extant photographs of Thomas J. Nevin in various poses and formats, held in family collections, and there may be several more in public collections waiting to be identified, such as this one first viewed at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, November 2014.

The other man in the image who leans on an elbow in front of the twisted trunk of a tree is holding the very distinctive white hat with a broad rim and floppy crown banded in black worn by so many adults in Nevin’s early stereographic images. Were they signifying membership of the Mechanics Institutes, or perhaps they were Terpsichoreans from one of the Wesleyan Lodges? Or was it simply the most fashionable summer headwear for men in 1868? Dozens of men in this stereograph (below) wore the striking white hat, taken on a public holiday at one of many events celebrating the 49th birthday of Queen Victoria (27th May 1868).

Stereograph by Nevin & Smith of groups seated and dancing in a circle , 27 May 1868
Verso label: Tasmanian Views from Nevin & Smith …. plus Tombstones copied, Terms – Cheap!”
Photos recto and verso copyright © KLW NFC Imprint 2014-2015
Taken at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, 10 November 2014
TMAG Ref: Q1994.56.20.1

The Mercury, 28th May 1868, reported a dancing party at Rosny, and a spot of bother:


A number of people yesterday took advantage of the holiday to pass a few hours at Rosny, where arrangements had been made for their amusement. A race between two skiffs, for £4 a side, took place, and appeared to be watched with considerable interest by the spectators. A brass band which had been engaged discoursed sweet music,  to which the Terpsichoreans danced incessantly until about 5 o’clock, when the steamer made her last trip to Hobart Town. A very pleasant afternoon was spent, the only interruption to the general harmony being caused by the conduct of several young “roughs,” who terminated their disgraceful proceedings by a general fight on board the boat.

CELEBRATION OF HER MAJESTY’S BIRTHDAY. (1868, May 28). The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved January 24, 2015, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article8852443

Thomas J. Nevin with hat
Thomas Nevin favoured a little black bowler with a narrow brim for his everyday, on-the-job hat, most clearly visible in this studio “self-portrait” holding a portable stereoscope viewer ca. 1868:

Photographer Thomas J. Nevin, late 1860s
Studio in white gloves holding stereoscopic viewer
Full length carte-de-visite, plain mount. Verso is blank.
Copyright © KLW NFC Imprint Private Collection 2009 ARR

In this photograph Nevin posed next to his big box table stereoscopic viewer resting on the distinctive table with the griffin-shaped legs, left arm holding the same hat.

Thomas Nevin ca. 1876
Full-length standing portrait with hat and table stereoscope
Copyright © KLW NFC Imprint &The Private Collection of Denis Shelverton 2007

The subject of these two photographs (below) and the one in company with Nevin supine on the Queen’s Domain is possibly the same man. The first bears verso one of Thomas Nevin’s New Town studio stamps from the late1860s, and is held at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. The verso is heavily inscribed in biro by a descendant of Mr. D. Chisholm, a schoolteacher.

“D. Chisholm at the gate, Bathurst St or Brisbane St Hobart” [?]
Thomas J. Nevin, New Town Studio ca. 1870
Carte-de-visite (rectangular) on plain mount,
Photos recto and verso copyright © KLW NFC Imprint 2014-2015
Taken at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, 10 November 2014
TMAG Collection Ref: Q1987.388

Verso inscription:: “My father D. Chisholm at the gate, Bathurst St Hobart Town” [etc]
Thomas J. Nevin, New Town Studio ca. 1870
Carte-de-visite (rectangular) on plain mount,
Photos recto and verso copyright © KLW NFC Imprint 2014-2015
Taken at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, 10 November 2014
TMAG Collection Ref: Q1987.388

These two show a supine Mr. Chisholm [?] photographed on the Domain in his summer suit and hat foreground, and another, taken at the same spot but at a different time using different lenses, with Government House clearly visible in the distance. Tree branches close by at top right is a common motif in Nevin’s photographs. Although attributed to Samuel Clifford (State Library of Tasmania), two photographers may have been present. The stereograph on a yellow mount with diagonal corners was probably taken and printed by Nevin, and the second was taken by Clifford, or possibly reprinted by Clifford for Nevin’s clients between 1876-1878. Both subjects of these images may be the same man who appears in several of Nevin’s photographs, and may have been a friend of the teachers in his family, John Nevin (father), and Mary Ann Nevin (sister).

State Library of Tasmania
Ref: AUTAS001125298646
New Government House
Clifford label on verso

Title: Photograph – Carte de visite – Government House, Hobart. 
Samuel Clifford photo or reprint from Nevin’s negative  [?]
Description: 1 photographic print
Format: Photograph
ADRI: LPIC147-3-164
Source: Archives Office of Tasmania

The selfie 1920

Caption: “The Way the Photograph was made on the Roof of the Marceau Studio Fifth Ave Opposite St. Patrick’s Cathedral Dec. 1920′”. 
Source: Janet Carding at Twitter

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Categories: Biographica, KLW NFC Photography, Stereographs, TMAG | Tags: , , , , ,

Donation of Nevin graphica from private collector to the NLA

We are delighted to announce that a private collector and American resident has generously donated to the National Library of Australia, Canberra, a total of 45 photographs of Port Arthur convicts taken by Thomas J. Nevin, including the photograph of John Gregson, 1874 (pictured), together with original records, prison logs, prison ephemera and realia, and letters written to Thomas J. Nevin from the adiministration regarding his government commissions at both the Port Arthur penitentiary and Hobart Gaol, Tasmania during the 1870s-1880s. The donation was bequeathed from a large collection of 19th and early 20th century Pacifica, the bulk of which will remain in the United States.

The National Library of Australia donation includes these carte-de-visite photographs:
– prison photograph of John Gregson, Nevin stamp verso
– prison photograph of Francis Gregson, Nevin stamp verso
– prison photograph of George Leathley, Nevin stamp verso, handwritten inscriptions “Port Arthur 1872″
– prison photograph of George Fisher, Nevin stamp verso
– prison photograph of Henry Clabby, Nevin stamp verso
– prison photograph of Richard Copping, Nevin stamp verso
– prison photograph of William Curtis, Nevin stamp verso
– prison photograph of Job Smith, Nevin stamp verso
– prison photograph of Stephen Kelly, Nevin stamp verso
– prison photograph of John Nestor, Nevin stamp verso
– prison photograph of William Sewell, Nevin stamp verso
– prison photograph of Charles Baker, Nevin stamp verso
– prison photograph of James Martin, verso inscribed with “T.J. Nevin Photo”
– prison photograph of Daniel Murphy, verso inscribed with “T.J. Nevin Photo”
– prison photograph of Dennis Dogherty, Nevin stamp verso, handwritten inscriptions “Port Arthur 1872″
– and thirty more of prisoners taken in the same decade, some as uncut paper prints bundled together with handwritten logs numbering each image on each sheet of photographs, plus dates of printing, and cost calculations in pencil at the foot of each log (4 pages). Some bear the wording  “To J. Barnard” and “for Tuesday” and various other days. Two separate notes attached give details of paper size, mount colours, and ink orders from suppliers, including one stained with blue and pink watercolour.

The collection also consists of these documents:
– letter to T. Nevin, New Town from W. Giblin, 1872 (govt)
– letter to T. Nevin, from J. Woodcock Graves, 1871 (lawyer)
– letter to T. Nevin, from J. Barnard, 1869 (govt printer)
– letter to T. Nevin, from Detective J. Connor 1879 (govt)
– letter from Ad. H. Boyd to Thomas Nevin, 1871 (govt)
– letter from Chief Justice F. Smith to R. Byron Miller re Nevin (Supreme Court 1873)
– letters (x3) to Thomas Nevin from J. W. Beattie 1898
– Christmas card from E.R. Nevin to J. W. Beattie 1898

There are also six photographs of unidentified landscapes printed as stereographs with “T. Nevin Photo” embossed on the mounts, one in a green mount, and four mounted cdv studio portraits of Eliza Hurst (dated 1878), William Giblin, James Erskine Calder, and James Hurst, names written on reverse, all with Nevin’s stamp.

This donation is a welcome addition to the public holdings of Thomas J. Nevin’s photographic work and biographical documentation. The items have not yet been individually catalogued, and access is restricted to those nominated by the Nevin family descendant who signed the release from the collector’s estate in May 2014 at Oakland, California.

Categories: 19th Century Prison Photography, National Library of Australia, Private Collections | Tags: , , , ,

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