Gifts for Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, 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, Duke of Edinburgh, Hobart 1868

Constable John Nevin at Trucanini’s funeral 1876

Constable John Nevin (1852-1891), brother of photographer Thomas J. Nevin, joined the civil service as an 18 year old in 1870 and was stationed at the Cascades Gaol and Reformatory until transferred to the Hobart Gaol in 1877. He was on duty at the burial of Trucanini regarded in that era as the “last Tasmanian Aboriginal”, on 10th-11th May 1876 at the Cascades cemetery. Located on a patch of ground -“a vacant spot opposite the Cascades” as the press described it (South Australian Register 12 May 1876) – that patch is now identified as No. 2, Nevin Street . … More Constable John Nevin at Trucanini’s funeral 1876

One of the last portraits by Alfred Bock in Hobart 1865

This photograph of a teenage girl with bare shoulders and ringlets may be one of the very last taken by Alfred Bock in Hobart Tasmania before his departure in 1865. The design of the studio stamp on the verso was altered only minimally by his younger partner Thomas J. Nevin who bought the lease of the studio, shop, the glass house and darkroom, the stock of negatives, camera equipment, backdrops and furniture etc at auction on August 2, 1865. Thomas Nevin continued to use the stamp’s design for his commercial studio portraiture for another decade, although he used at least six other designs for various formats and clients, including the Royal Arms insignia for his contracts and commission with the Colonial government. … More One of the last portraits by Alfred Bock in Hobart 1865

Posing with a stereoscopic viewer

Clients of early photographers were not the only ones to pose with the photographer’s own stereoscope(s). Two extant cartes-de-visite self-portraits by Thomas J. Nevin from The Nevin Family Collections captured his treasured stereoscopes, one with him holding a small viewer, possibly a Brewster, ca. 1868, and another with him standing next his large table-top stereoscopic viewer, possibly a Beckers (ca 1875). … More Posing with a stereoscopic viewer

A highly coloured portrait

DECOR: the shiny low chair, the table with griffin-shaped legs, tinted flowers and hair ribbons, the draped curtain, the diamond-patterned carpet, and the backdrop of a patterned patio looking out from an Italianate terrace to a vista of a meandering river, characterise this phase or aspect of Nevin’s commercial practice. … More A highly coloured portrait

Red and violet: the impact of Brewster stereoscopy

A modern viewer would assume that these portraits all have their provenance in a family album, and that a small childish hand had been at work with a paintbox. And perhaps that was the case, but there may yet be another explanation for why the portraits below, all bearing Thomas Nevin’s studio stamp, should exhibit such crude hand colouring when the hand-tinting of his other portraits – of family members, of himself, and even of a few convict cartes – is remarkably fine and delicate. The four examples here were all sold commercially, and were painted over after their purchase by their owners who had enough knowledge of stereoscopy to experiment, and may have possessed a stereo viewer. Single cartes were also viewed using a stereoscope, and the addition of colour and lines enhanced the depth of field. They were not painted by Nevin during printing, and they are not stereographs. None of Nevin’s stereographs were coloured in this manner. … More Red and violet: the impact of Brewster stereoscopy

Nevin’s Royal Arms studio stamp

Commercial photographers in Tasmania in the 1870s and 1880s were extended two basic but very different types of government support, and these differences are evident in the designs of their studio stamps. Henry Hall Baily, for example, used a stamp signifying patronage by the Governor of Tasmania. He photographed notable citizens, visiting VIPs and official functions, often with the express intention of submitting his photographs to national and international exhibitions. In other words, Baily was never contracted under tender to work for the Colonial government, merely rewarded for special commissions by the Governor. His stamp from the mid 1880s was printed with the words “Under the Patronage of His Excellency Sir G. C. Strahan”, and the initials “K.C.M.G” beneath. Thomas J. Nevin, by contrast, was issued with a stamp which contained the design of the Supreme Court seal and the Prisons Department publications banner because he served the Colonial government as a photographer on a regular basis in Supreme Court sittings. … More Nevin’s Royal Arms studio stamp

With Alfred Bock mid 1860s

The verso of this portrait of a standing child bears Alfred Bock’s studio stamp for the City Photographic Establishment which is identical in design to one of the stamps adopted by Thomas Nevin while working with Bock in the early 1860s. Nevin continued to use this design when he acquired Bock’s studio and stock, The City Photographic Establishment, in 1865 on Bock’s departure from Tasmania. … More With Alfred Bock mid 1860s

Signatures and handwriting 1870s

Examples of Thomas Nevin’s handwriting can assist in identifying inscriptions on the versos of so many unattributed photographs of the period in public holdings. The handwritten inscription – “Clifford & Nevin, Hobart Town” – which appears on several studio portraits in private and public collections, may be one source of either Nevin’s or Clifford’s calligraphy. … More Signatures and handwriting 1870s

Clifford & Nevin’s cartes:tints versus daubs

None of the men pictured is Thomas Nevin or his brother Jack Nevin or his father John Nevin. None of these cartes was ever held in Nevin Family Collections, and none was coloured in this way by Nevin or any of his family. The cdv of the two men was recently exhibited at the QVMAG and published in the catalogue The Painted Portrait Photograph in Tasmania (John McPhee 2007). … More Clifford & Nevin’s cartes:tints versus daubs

Clifford & Nevin portraits with hand-colouring

Professional photographers Thomas J. Nevin (1842-1923) and Samuel Clifford (1827-1890) were close friends and colleagues over a period dating from ca. 1865 to Clifford’s death in 1890. Both maintained photographic studios in Hobart, producing commercial stereographs in significant numbers, as well as providing the local population with studio portraits. The colouring in this carte and others from a similar provenance (northern Tasmania and Victoria) is sometimes mistakenly assumed to be the work of the studio colourist, which was not the case (McPhee QVMAG, 2007). The colouring was applied after the purchase of the print by a family member, probably by a child playing with a small hand-held stereoscopic viewer. … More Clifford & Nevin portraits with hand-colouring