Alfred Bock and the Bayles sisters

Outdoors, just back from a stroll in the fresh air country air, hat in hand, was the theme chosen for Mary Louisa Bayles’ session at Alfred Bock’s studio ca. 1865.  He stood her next to a circular metal garden table decorated with a metal stand supporting a bowl of artificial fruits and flowers. Behind her, both on her left and right, two plaster plinths were to suggest a patio balustrade leading to steps rising to a terrace just out of frame. Painted on the backsheet to the viewer’s right, the large tree reaching to the top was to soften the edge of the frame in similar manner to the drape which nearly always appears in Alfred Bock and Thomas Nevin’s indoor studio portraits. In the distance to the viewer’s left, the smaller tree was to deepen perspective while allowing enough blank space to foreground the pose Mary Louisa chose as a complement to the outdoor decor. Only the carpet appears incongruous in a setting which has so much outdoor furniture. That same carpet with a pattern of large dark lozenges rimmed in white appears in several portraits by Thomas Nevin of private clients. He may have acquired it from H. H. Baily whose studio was located almost opposite in Elizabeth Street. It appears in Baily’s portrait of Sara Crouch who was photographed by Thomas Nevin about the same time, ca. 1872. … More Alfred Bock and the Bayles sisters

Gifts for Prince Alfred’s visit to Hobart, 1868

Between 1865 and 1868, the partnership advertised the firm  Nevin & Smith with three types of verso stamps. The most rare and unusual is this one printed for the visit to Hobart Tasmania of Alfred Ernest Albert, the Duke of Edinburgh, second son of Queen Victoria, in command of his yacht HMS Galatea, a steam-powered sail-equipped frigate arriving on 6th January and departing on 18th January 1868 for NSW where, on his return to Sydney, he survived an assassination attempt at Clontarf (12th March 1868). The Children’s Song of Welcome to Prince Alfred. a choral march, was written with lyrics by Louisa Anne Meredith and music by Frederick A. Packer for the occasion. The score was printed with a cover illustration depicting a laurel wreath in green ink encircling the name “Alfred of England”, L.A.M. Del. et Lith. and marked with L.A. Meredith’s monogram. The inside page was printed as a direct address to Queen Victoria. Prince Alfred was presented with an album containing “eighty-three photographs illustrative of the scenery of Tasmania, forty-eight portraits of children born in the colony, and nine plates immediately connected with the Prince’s visit” at his final reception, 18 January 1868. … More Gifts for Prince Alfred’s visit to Hobart, 1868

Sarah Crouch at Thomas J. Nevin’s studio ca. 1872

“SEVERAL Ladies having been long impressed with the desolate state of females occupying the sphere of domestic servants on leaving their situations while seeking others, the following ideas have been suggested: –
“That a society of ladies be formed, the design of which shall be to protect ALL lone female servants, and afford such advice as experience dictates and by judicious care and oversight prevent exposure to many evils which strangers in the colony are subject to; and also to provide a “Home” to ALL female servants willing to avail themselves of its privileges at a rate within the reach of their limited means. The “Home” will be conducted as much as possible in accordance with similar Institutions in London. Such a home will preclude the necessity of the well-intentioned taking up their abode with persons whose object is gain to themselves, though it should be the destruction of their supporters. With this view the ladies have taken a house in High-street, near the New Town Road (a respectable neighbourhood) at a very moderate rent, in which there is a sitting-room, with table requisites for the use of the inmates, and all necessary utensil for cooking, washing, &c – the dormitories furnished with beds, bedding, and everything necessary to the comfort of those desirous of placing themselves under the guardianship of the ladies….” … More Sarah Crouch at Thomas J. Nevin’s studio ca. 1872

The house called “Tolosa” on the Hull estate

Where on the vast estate of 2560 acres granted to George Hull in 1824, 5.2 miles or 4.5 nautical miles north of Hobart was the house called “Tolosa” built? Was it on the Kangaroo Valley (now Lenah Valley) side adjacent to the 400 acres he sold to Lady Jane Franklin (1839) which she named Ancanthe and where she built her museum, or was it located further north on the Glenorchy side of what is now Kalang Avenue, 8 miles north of Hobart? Where was the house located in relation to the present Tolosa Street, Glenorchy? What was its architectural style and why was it called “Tolosa”? Do two photographs of houses taken by Thomas J. Nevin ca. 1868 in the area where his father John Nevin built a house at Kangaroo Valley in 1853 show off the house called “Tolosa”? This lithograph of 1859, though not clear, shows enough of the house to indicate that its facade had a verandah with a series of arches, and eight entrances and windows in total, all facing north. … More The house called “Tolosa” on the Hull estate

Tombstones copied, Terms: – Cheap!

How cheap was “cheap”? Three years previously, when Thomas Nevin was assistant in Alfred Bock’s studio at 140 Elizabeth St. Hobart before Bock’s departure and Nevin &Smith acquiring the business, he would have taken exception to the word “cheap” directed at Alfred Bock’s practice. The dispute about the ownership and copyright of the sennotype process between Henry Frith and Alfred Bock in 1864-1865 embittered both to the point of deciding to quit Tasmania. Frith’s rates for carte-de-visite portraits were expensive, two for 10/-, and his disdain for “cheap trash palmed off on the public as cheap photography” was loudly proclaimed in this advertisement in the Mercury of 6th April 1864. … More Tombstones copied, Terms: – Cheap!

The firm of Nevin & Smith stamps and label 1867-1868

Robert Smith and Thomas Nevin established the firm of Nevin & Smith soon after Thomas Nevin acquired the stock, studio and glass house of Alfred Bock at 140 Elizabeth St. Hobart Town in 1865. The partnership was brief, lasting less than two years. It was dissolved by Nevin’s family solicitor, the Hon. W. R. Giblin, in February 1868. Two studio stamps and one label have survived from their brief partnership.

Robert Smith may have operated a studio prior to his partnership with Nevin, as Mrs Esther Mather referred briefly to the “coloured ones from Smith’s” in a letter to her step-son, dated October 1865. On Robert Smith’s departure to Victoria, where he took up farming and politics, Thomas Nevin pasted the verso of a few more photographs with the label bearing their name, but with Smith’s name struck through, and the word “Late”added. … More The firm of Nevin & Smith stamps and label 1867-1868

Photographers Thomas Nevin and Robert Smith, Hobart Tasmania, 1867-1868

Robert Smith may have operated a studio prior to his partnership with Nevin, as Mrs Esther Mather referred briefly to the “coloured ones from Smith’s” in a letter to her step-son, dated October 1865. On Robert Smith’s departure to Goulburn, NSW, where he opened a small photographic studio before taking  up farming and politics, Thomas Nevin pasted the verso of a few more photographs with the label bearing their name, but with Smith’s name struck through, and the word “Late”added. … More Photographers Thomas Nevin and Robert Smith, Hobart Tasmania, 1867-1868

Another rare Nevin & Smith studio stamp

This studio stamp from Nevin & Smith with the inclusion of the Prince of Wales’ blazon, is the second type of stamp from Thomas Nevin’s studio that bears an official insignia. Whether his use of this blazon was to signify a commission to contribute to the photograph albums gifted to Prince Alfred is quite possible though as yet undocumented. The blazon was used on decorations for official functions during Prince Alfred’s visit to Hobart in 1868. The banneret (below) adorned the ball given in his honour. Quite different is T. J. Nevin’s official government contractor stamp which appears on prisoner identification photographs taken at the Port Arthur prison and Hobart Gaol (below).  It features the Royal insignia of a lion and unicorn rampant encircled by a belt carrying Nevin’s name and studio address. It was devised by government printer James Barnard to endorse all official colonial government documents, including the weekly police gazettes. … More Another rare Nevin & Smith studio stamp

Nevin & Smith tinted vignette of Elizabeth Rachel Day 1868

Less than a dozen portraits and stereographs have survived in public and private collections of the work conducted by Robert Smith (n.d.) and Thomas J. Nevin while operating the firm with the name business name “NEVIN & SMITH” at the former studio of Alfred Bock, 140 Elizabeth Street, Hobart (Tasmania) from ca. 1867 to February 1868 when the partnership was dissolved. This rare hand-tinted portrait was taken by Thomas J. Nevin of his fiancée Elizabeth Rachel Day (1847-1914) while in partnership with Robert Smith ca. 1868. … More Nevin & Smith tinted vignette of Elizabeth Rachel Day 1868

Nevin & Smith studio Elizabeth St. Hobart 1867-1868

Robert Smith and Thomas J. Nevin established the firm of Nevin & Smith soon after Nevin acquired the stock, studio and glass house of Alfred Bock at 140 Elizabeth St. Hobart Town in 1865 on Bock’s imminent departure from Tasmania. The partnership was brief, lasting less than two years. It was dissolved by Thomas Nevin’s family solicitor, the Hon. W. R. Giblin, in February 1868. Two studio stamps and one label have survived from their brief partnership. The first stamp featuring the Prince of Wales’ blazon of three feathers and a coronet, banded with the German “ICH DIEN” (I Serve) dates from the visit of Prince Alfred Ernest Albert, the Duke of Edinburgh, second son of Queen Victoria, in 1868 on the Royal yacht, H.M.S. Galatea

These two children were probably photographed for an album of forty-eight photographic prints depicting the children of Tasmania which was gifted to Prince Alfred at his final reception on 18th January 1868 before returning to NSW where he was to survive an assassination attempt weeks later (at Clontarf, 12th March 1868). According to Jack Cato (1977:58), a group of Tasmanian photographers was invited to contribute to the Children’s Album … … More Nevin & Smith studio Elizabeth St. Hobart 1867-1868