Elizabeth Rachel Day (1847-1914), daughter of guard captain of the Candahar (1842) and master mariner Captain James Day, married Thomas James Nevin on 12th July, 1871, at the Wesleyan Chapel, Kangaroo Valley, Hobart.
Hand-tinted carte-de-visite portraits of Elizabeth Rachel Day
Left: taken by T. Nevin ca. 1870 and
Right: from Nevin & Smith mid to late 1860s
City Photographic Establishment, 140 Elizabeth St. Hobart Town.
Their marriage witnesses were Rachel’s younger sister Mary Sophia Day, and William Hanson, licensee of the Black Prince Hotel, 145 Elizabeth Street, Hobart. Thomas Nevin’s studio at 140 Elizabeth St. was located a little further up Elizabeth St, on the opposite side from The Black Prince Hotel, which still operates in its original location today at the corner of Elizabeth and Melville Streets on the CBD fringe.
Marriage registration of Thos Nevin and E.R. Day July 12, 1871
This excerpt from the registry of marriages for Hobart Town, Tasmania, 1871, shows the following interesting details:
1. the supposed signatures of Thomas Nevin and Elizabeth Rachel Day (not spelt as Rachael) and that they signed themselves as Thos. Nevin and E.R. Day. The “J” which appears as the middle initial for “James” on Nevin’s studio stamp printed at the time of his government contract as prison photographer eighteen months later – “T. J. Nevin” – is absent here. He was married without the “J” and he was buried in 1923 without the “J”.
2. the supposed signatures of the witnesses, William Hanson and Mary Sophia Day
3. the couple married according to the rites and ceremonies of the Methodist Church
4. Thos Nevin’s official and government status or “rank” was “photographer”.
5. the name of the clergyman presiding was indeed James Hutchison (not Hutchinson) as many have thought (eg Stilwell in correspondence to McPhee 1977)
The handwriting on this document looks remarkably uniform, despite the wording “Signatures and Description of Parties” where some individual variation might be expected. The form may have been filled out or copied at a later date by church or government officials.
Examples of Thomas Nevin’s handwriting can assist in identifying inscriptions on the versos of so many unattributed photographs of the period in public holdings. The handwritten inscription – “Clifford & Nevin, Hobart Town” – which appears on several studio portraits in private and public collections, may be one source of either Nevin’s or Clifford’s calligraphy.
Over the years, as so many of Nevin’s photographs were copied, notably by John Watt Beattie for the tourist trade, and as others entered public collections, cataloguists and archivists added their notes on both the mounts and versos, making it impossible to distinguish who wrote what when. This has certainly led to confusion about the extant examples of Tasmanian prisoners’ ID photographs and glass negatives taken by Nevin which were archived or copied by John Watt Beattie ca. 1915 when he salvaged 300 or so from the old photographer’s room at the Hobart Gaol prior to demolition . The inscription on the verso of dozens of the convict portraits - “Taken at Port Arthur 1874” – was written decades later than the original photographic capture by Nevin of men sentenced at the Supreme Court, at the Hobart Gaol, and at the Town Hall Police Office from 1871 to ca. 1886.
The inscription which appears on his stamp below the circular belt design – “Further copies can be obtained at any time” – also appears on Alfred Bock’s stamp which Nevin adopted and embellished after 1867. It may be handwriting, or it may be a printed font.
Verso inscriptions on two of six types of studio stamps used by Thomas Nevin, 1870s
Left: Private Collection; Right: Archives Office of Tasmania