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 St, The Queens Orphan School at New Town, and The Hobart Gaol viewed from Bathurst St. Some are embossed on the front mount with Samuel Clifford’s printed 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” – possibly Rev. G. Lawrence Turner who may have donated the photographs to Narryna. The title of each photograph is written in a hand which appears identical to the handwriting on the verso of Clifford & Nevin’s studio portraits: see verso below from The McCullagh Collection. They used this inscription as a studio stamp during their partnership, from the late 1860s to the early 1870s.

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“Queens Orphan Asylum, New Town”
Verso of a stereograph held at Narryna Heritage Museum, Hobart
Click on images for large view
Photography © KLW NFC & The Nevin Family Collection 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 Jack Nevin’s assistance from the early 1870s to the early 1880s.

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Verso of hand tinted carte of young man

From the © Private Collection of John & Robyn McCullagh 2007

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Stereoscope with stereographs by Clifford and Nevin
at the Narryna Heritage Museum, Hobart
Photography © KLW NFC & The Nevin Family Collection 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.