Thomas Nevin’s portraits of his wife Elizabeth Rachel Day (1847-1914)
This is an old black and white enlargement of a detail of a portrait of Elizabeth Rachel Nevin nee Day (1847-1914) in her later years, taken ca. 1900 by her husband. Just her face was magnified to an unusually large size, measuring approx. 8×10 inches. It has the impact of a modern cinematic close-up. The magnified final image was pasted to grey cardboard. The remarkable aspect of the image is the evidence of hand-painted strokes around the hair line and eyes. The original photograph may have been hand-coloured, though not as heavily as the fashion of painting over photographic portraits which became popular in the 1890s. Many of her husband’s early extant portraits of his wife, of himself, his private clients, and even a handful of extant mugshots of Tasmanian convicts taken during his commission to provide the colonial government with prisoner identification portraits in the 1870s, show evidence of hand-tinting. Some were expertly and finely done done by Nevin and his studio assistants, others were ineptly daubed with blobs by clients or collectors after purchase. Elizabeth Rachel Day may have assisted her husband in his studio as his colourist from the beginning of her marriage, and may have even touched up this photographic portrait of herself taken thirty years later. … More Thomas Nevin’s portraits of his wife Elizabeth Rachel Day (1847-1914)
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