Thomas Nevin & Samuel Clifford’s partnership and identical views 1860s-70s

CLIFFORD, Samuel 1870s
Clifford & Nevin partnership
STEREOGRAPHS 1860s-1870s

The Partnership
Professional photographers Samuel Clifford and Thomas J. Nevin shared a long friendship and partnership from the early 1860s until Clifford’s death in 1890. Several cartes-de-visite with the inscription on verso Clifford & Nevin Hobart Town are held in public and private collections. This one, for example, is held in a private collection:

Hand coloured carte-de-visite, full length of teenage girl holding a sprig of holly
Verso inscription: Clifford & Nevin Hobart Town ca late 1860s
Copyright © The Private Collection of G.T. Harrisson 2006

Thomas Nevin and Samuel Clifford were close friends and colleagues over a period dating from ca. 1865 to Clifford’s death in 1890. A group photograph of Thomas and Elizabeth Nevin, seated, with Thomas’ younger brother Constable John (Jack) Nevin extreme right standing next to a man who was probably Samuel Clifford, could have been taken at the wedding of Thomas and Elizabeth in July 1871 at the Wesleyan Chapel, Kangaroo Valley, Hobart.

Thomas and Elizabeth Nevin group portrait, July 1871
Seated, Thomas and Elizabeth Nevin
Standing extreme right younger brother Jack Nevin
Copyright © KLW NFC Imprint Private Collection 2009 ARR

At some point during their long relationship, these two photographers signed the verso of several studio portraits “Clifford & Nevin, Hobart Town“, extant examples of which are held in private collections and at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery. It is likely that they printed these scenes for the local and intercolonial tourist trade, sharing their stock of negatives and prints from as early as 1865, and that “authorship” was secondary to the successful turnover of the commercial product. Many of Thomas J. Nevin’s negatives were acquired and reprinted by Samuel Clifford in 1876 when Nevin sublet one of his studios, the former studio of Alfred Bock at 140 Elizabeth St, Hobart, to join the civil service full-time with the Hobart City Council as keeper of the Hobart Town Hall and police photographer with the Municipal Police Office, housed within the Hobart Town Hall.

Samuel Clifford inserted a notice in the Hobart Mercury, 17th January, 1876, stating that T. J. Nevin, in retiring from “Photography” had transferred his interest in his negatives to Clifford’s studio, and that he would reprint any for Nevin’s clients and friends on request. Nevin had retired from commercial photography while employed at the Hobart Town Hall. On leaving that position he continued working for police on contract from his studio at New Town until 1886.

TRANSCRIPT

PHOTOGRAPHY T.J. NEVIN, in retiring from the above, begs to thank his patrons for the support he has so long received from them, and also to state that his interest in all the Negatives he has taken has been transferred to Mr S. CLIFFORD, of Liverpool-street, to whom future applications may be made.
In reference to the above, Mr T.J. Nevin’s friends may depend that I will endeavour to satisfy them with any prints they may require from his negatives.
S. CLIFFORD

Source: Mercury, 17th January, 1876

The reason for this advertisement was to underscore Nevin’s status as a full-time civil servant which was announced later in January 1876. As a civil servant, he was not entitled to further remuneration – “interest” as it is termed here – from his commercial photography. However, he was not long retired from commercial practice when he was called on again to do photographic work for the Municipal Police Office, located at the Town Hall, with duties as well at the Hobart Gaol. His earlier work for the Colonial Government on commission as a government contractor was to photograph prisoners on arrest, arraignment, incarceration, and discharge from the prison system. And by 1880, he was producing commercial work once more with Henry Hall Baily, another close friend while still a civil servant at the Town Hall, a fact noted by the Mercury, December 4th, 1880.

The Stereographs
Below is an example of the same photograph printed twice, once as a single image, the other as a stereograph. The black and white copy is dated 1869 and held at the Archives Office of Tasmania with attribution to Samuel Clifford. The stereograph (double image) is held at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, and carries the impress of T. Nevin on mount.

The Archives Office gave this one the title “The Derwent River on the way to the Salmon Ponds.” Thomas Nevin’s standard stereograph views included these photographs taken in the upper Derwent Valley ca. late 1860s – mid 1870s:

Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery
Ref: Q1994.56.21
ITEM NAME: Photograph:
MEDIUM: sepia stereoscope salt paper print ,
MAKER: T Nevin [Artist];
DATE: 1870s
DESCRIPTION : Scene near New Norfolk ?
INSCRIPTIONS and MARKS: Impressed on front: T Nevin/ photo

TMAG Catalogue notes (online until 2006)
Ref: Q1994.56.7
ITEM NAME: Photograph:
MEDIUM: sepia stereoscope salt paper print ,
MAKER: T Nevin [Artist];
DATE: 1870c
DESCRIPTION : Salmon Ponds at Plenty near New Norfolk
INSCRIPTIONS and MARKS: Impressed on front: T Nevin/ photo

This stereograph by Thomas Nevin, titled “Salmon Ponds, at Plenty near New Norfolk“, ca. 1870, which is held by the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery is very similar to one by Samuel Clifford. Several views of the upper reaches of the River Derwent were taken by Nevin and Clifford on a joint excursion in 1874 through Bothwell and the midlands to Launceston in the north of Tasmania.

The TMAG has another stereo titled Junction of Plenty and Derwent Rivers (below) which belongs in this series, at present unattributed. It is likely to be one of Nevin’s, as so many more stereographs which have a Clifford attribution in public collections are likely to be reprints of Nevin’s negatives. The State Library of Tasmania holds dozens of stereographs in a Clifford Album which include Clifford’s reprints of Nevin’s work around Port Arthur 1872-1873.

“Junction of Plenty and Derwent Rivers”
TMAG Ref: Q1994.56.14
Sepia stereo salt paper print , 1870s

RELATED POSTS main weblog