Several carte-de-visite portraits from the 1870s bear a daub of red and green representing a flower, perhaps a sprig of holly to signify a portrait taken at Christmas. Two of the three colored examples here were taken by Thomas J. Nevin; the third, of William Maguire, is variously attributed to Charles A.Woolley (at the TMAG), or unattributed (at the SLtas). These three portraits may be related, possibly because the young man whose age is tentatively given as 22 yrs, and the teenage girl may have been a married couple, the baby being their child.
The carte-de-visite full-length studio portrait of William Maguire was on display within the extensive exhibition of Islands to Ice: The Great Southern Ocean and Antarctica held at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (2007). The sprig daubed red and green is visible on his left-hand lapel.
Full length image and detail showing sprig (TMAG)
Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery Collection
ITEM NAME: photograph:
MEDIUM: Albumen silver carte de visite,
MAKER: C A Woolley [Artist];
TITLE: ‘William John Maguire of the whaler “Aladdin” ran away to sea as cabin boy age 12 yrs’
A copy of the same photograph is held at the State Library, but the date is 1870 and not 1878, and unattributed.
STATE LIBRARY OF TASMANIA
Title: Mr. William John Maguire
Creator(s):Unknown Date: 1870
Description: 1 photographic print mounted on right hand of a folded cardboard mount :
b&w ; 17 x 11 cm. ; on mount 20 x 13 cm.
Notes: Exact measurements: 163 x 102 mm.,
Title inscribed on inside cover of folded mount., Mr. William John Maguire … ?22 – Brig Velocity (Whaler) owner Dr. W.L. Crowther – died young of consumption – Dressed in Regatta Day outfit.,
Condition at Oct. 2002: Minor dirt marks and spotting on image particularly in lower right hand . Overall condition is very good.
Location: W.L. Crowther LibraryADRI: AUTAS001126073493
The child and teenage girl photographed by Nevin may have been William Maguire’s young family, the photographs retained by his family because of his early death from consumption. The portraits were eventually purchased by the current private collectors. The connection of the name “Maguire” to Thomas Nevin is evident on the marriage registration form of his sister-in-law, Mary Sophia Day to Charles Hector Axup, on 1st May 1878. A witness was “Margaret Maguire”. . . If this is correct, then the date of the TMAG portrait of William Maguire (son? husband? brother? of Margaret) set at 1878, may be correct.
Above: child holding a sprig, daubed red and green
Portrait by T.J. Nevin, ca. 1873
From © The Lucy Batchelor Collection 2009 ARR [PC]
Above: teenage girl holding a sprig, daubed red and green, ca. 1874
Portrait inscribed verso with the transcription “Clifford & Nevin, Hobart Town”
From © The G.T. Harrisson Collection 2006 ARR [PC]
The poses are identical and mirror each other. The connection of Nevin to Woolley may have been through a shared colorist, or the acquisition of studio furniture and equipment from Woolley’s warehouse next to his studio, the possible source of Nevin’s table with the griffin-shaped legs and wallhanging of a river scene which appear often in Nevin’s studio portraits, and is also visible in this uncut photograph of Bishop Willson attributed to Woolley (TMAG Collection).
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