Stereographs by Clifford & Nevin at ‘Narryna’

An unmarked stereoscope and several stereographs are held at the Narryna Heritage Museum, Battery Point, Hobart. The stereographs depict an exterior view of Government House in Campbell Street, Hobart; the Queens Orphan School at New Town; and the Hobart Gaol viewed from Bathurst Street, Hobart. Some have the impress of Samuel Clifford’s blind studio stamp; others bear no photographic studio marks.

All stereographs on display bear several types of inscriptions on verso, including the name “G. Turner” who was  possibly the Rev. G. Lawrence Turner. The title of each photograph is written in a hand which appears identical to the handwriting on the verso of studio portraits taken by Thomas Nevin in the early 1870s and reprinted by Samuel Clifford after 1876 when Nevin ceased commercial photography to join the civil service at the Hobart Town Hall and Hobart Municipal Police Office. Samuel Clifford wrote “Clifford & Nevin, Hobart Town” on the versos of these reprints until Nevin resumed commercial photography in late 1880.

“Queens Orphan Asylum, New Town”
Verso of a stereograph held at Narryna Heritage Museum, Hobart
Photography © KLW NFC Imprint 2008 ARR

Inscribed in an identical hand: compare this inscription with the one below: the uppercase “N” and “T” are identical in both. The stereo lying flat (to the right) bears no photographic studio stamp. It shows the Hobart Gaol and Penitentiary Chapel, Campbell St. Hobart, where Thomas Nevin was contracted to take prisoners’ identification photographs with his brother Constable John Nevin’s assistance from the early 1870s to the early 1880s.

Verso of hand tinted carte of young man
Inscribed “Clifford & Nevin, Hobart Town”
Courtesy of the © Private Collection of John & Robyn McCullagh 2007

Stereoscope with stereographs by Clifford and Nevin at the Narryna Heritage Museum, Hobart
Photography © KLW NFC Imprint 2008 ARR

This is an interactive display at the Narryna Heritage Museum. The stereos are truly 3D. The visitor gains an immediate understanding of the Victorian fascination with this “advanced” photography. Three images can be seen, not just one: the central image appears in deep perspective, with the image split into halves on either side.

An 1830s Georgian town house, Narryna was built by seafarer Captain Andrew Haig
Photo copyright © KLW NFC Imprint 2014.