Second Thoughts: one session, two poses at the City Photographic Establishment

These two photographs of an unidentified woman who posed for photographer Alfred Bock ca. 1865-1867 in his Hobart studio were taken minutes apart. The provenance of the top cdv where the woman is gazing directly at the camera/photographer, was local: it was purchased for  KLW NFC Imprint Private Collection on eBay in 2017 from a seller located in South Australia. The provenance of the second cdv in which the woman’s gaze is directed 15 degrees to the viewer’s left, was the United Kingdom, according to Douglas Stewart Fine Books (Melbourne) who catalogued it for sale in July 2017. Here, on this webpage, exactly 150 years after these two photographs were taken in Bock’s glass house at 140 Elizabeth Street, Hobart, and probably printed within the hour on the same day, they are reunited in the hope they may excite recognition from a descendant who can provide this striking woman with a name and an account of her travels. … More Second Thoughts: one session, two poses at the City Photographic Establishment

Serious money: Captain Edward Goldsmith and shipowner Robert Brooks

The long term success of Robert Brooks’ shipping and pastoral investments depended heavily on the trust he placed in his agents at colonial ports, and on his delegation of all responsibility to his ships’ masters. “Freight payable in the colony” appeared frequently on his cargo manifests. Between 1834 and 1836 he purchased eight vessels, all second-hand. Between 1844 and 1846, his shipping purchases included the Parrock Hall, the Victor, the Kinnear, the Angelina, the North Briton, the Eagle, the William Wilson, and most important of all, the Rattler, built and bought specifically for Captain Edward Goldsmith (Broeze, p. 150, Table 8.6). … More Serious money: Captain Edward Goldsmith and shipowner Robert Brooks

Marriage breakdown: Elizabeth Amos v Alfred Threlkeld Mayson 1879-1882

By 1877 Elizabeth Mayson was petitioning for separation. She filed an application for protection of her earnings and property in 1879, citing Alfred Mayson’s alcoholism, gambling and loss of his job as Stipendiary Magistrate as reasons. She separated permanently from Alfred T. Mayson in 1877 taking both children with her to the residence of her father, John Amos. Alfred T. Mayson used Dobson & Mitchell lawyers in response to the petition. They claimed Elizabeth Mayson could not be found by June 1882, so Mayson’s claim to set aside his wife’s application was discharged. Elizabeth Mayson married Charles Borradale (1845- 1917) sometime after gaining a divorce from Alfred T, Mayson (date ?), and resided in Victoria. She died at the Borradale family home, 33 Morah St Parkville, Melbourne in 1907, aged 62 years. Widower Charles Borradale then remarried to Margaret McGregor who survived him and continued to live at the house in Morah St. Parkville. Charles Borradale died on 22nd April 1917, aged 71 years. He was wealthy enough to erect a large tombstone for his wife Elizabeth Mayson Borradale nee Amos and himself in the Melbourne General Cemetery, Victoria. His estate was considerable, although his last occupation was simply “cabdriver”. … More Marriage breakdown: Elizabeth Amos v Alfred Threlkeld Mayson 1879-1882

Captain Goldsmith, Captain Clinch, & the Tasmanian Steamship Navigation Co.

“We have the sad duty today of recording the sudden death of Captain John Clinch, of the T. S. N. Co.’s steamer Southern Cross, which occurred on Tuesday, at Sydney. The first intimation of the sad event was received here yesterday morning by a telegram, dated Sydney, 8th June, 1.15 p.m., from the company’s agents. The telegram was as follows :—” We grieve to report the death of Captain Clinch. He fell on the bridge just after the steamer left the wharf. Dr. Alloway saw him within about ten minutes, and pronounced him -dead. Mr. Lewis, chief officer, is to proceed on the voyage, taking charge of the body to Hobart Town, after inquest to-morrow morning.” Another telegram was received last evening, announcing that, the Southern Cross sailed from Sydney at 2 p.m. yesterday with the remains of Captain Clinch on board, the inquest having been dispensed with. The steamer may therefore be expected here on Saturday morning….” … More Captain Goldsmith, Captain Clinch, & the Tasmanian Steamship Navigation Co.

Male and female clerics and Nevin’s table 1870s

So many coincidences inform the existence of these photographs. This man and woman are both of East Asian appearance, and both wore clerical dress denoting religious affiliations when photographed in the 1870s. But were they known to each other? Both portraits were collected in Australia, despite one originating from India. And then there’s the question about the table. The male portrait poses many questions, since it was printed in Madras by the Maselawmoney Brothers photographers, but located amongst other cartes-de-visite taken by Thomas J. Nevin held in the private collection of a Tasmanian family (the Liam Peters Collection). The female portrait was acquired through a Douglas Stewart Fine Books dealers’ catalogue (Melbourne) for KLW NFC Imprint & Private Collection in 2013. … More Male and female clerics and Nevin’s table 1870s

Our Tenth Anniversary

Ten years ago we started blogging about Tasmanian photographer Thomas J. Nevin (1842-1923). We look forward to another two years at least as the project draws closer to completion. Contributions and donations are most welcome, and many thanks for your involvement. … More Our Tenth Anniversary

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.

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

Thomas Nevin at the New Town studio to 1888

Mindful of his growing family after his dismissal in 1880, the Hobart City Corporation retained Nevin’s services as police photographer and bailiff with the Municipal and Territorial Police Forces on the recommendation of Superintendent F. Pedder, Sub-Inspector J. Connor and the Nevin family solicitor, Attorney-General W. R. Giblin. Younger brother Constable John Nevin (Wm John or Jack), the Hobart Gaol messenger in Campbell St, was his assistant when Nevin was required at Oyer sessions at the adjoining Supreme Court sittings. Together they continued to produce prisoner mugshots typical of commercial studio portraiture until 1888 (see this article).

But by January 1881, on dismissal from the Town Hall residency, Thomas Nevin relocated his family to the house his father John Nevin had built at Kangaroo Valley (now Lenah Valley, Tasmania). He resumed commercial photography nearby from his New Town studio. When Elizabeth Rachel and Thomas Nevin’s second daughter and fifth child was born – Minnie (Mary Ann) Nevin – in November 1884 at New Town, her father declared his profession simply as “photographer” on her birth registration form. … More Thomas Nevin at the New Town studio to 1888

Constable John Nevin at Trucanini’s funeral 1876

Constable John Nevin (1852-1891), brother of photographer Thomas J. Nevin, was stationed at the Cascades Gaol and Reformatory from April 1875. He was on duty at the burial of Trucanini regarded then 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

Two couples, two dogs by A. Bock and T. Nevin

The “T. Nevin Late A. Bock” portrait of a middle-aged couple with a dog was hand-tinted by the family who purchased it or by subsequent owners. Such inept colouring was not the work of Nevin himself. His own family portraits show delicate and precise tinting. Other heavily tinted portraits bearing the same studio stamp used by Nevin for commercial portraiture into the early 1870s show the owners’ preference for red and violet colours. This portrait of a couple with dog is unusual in that green and brown colours were used. In all these extant cartes-de-visite portraits bearing Nevin’s stamp which were coloured subsequent to purchase, it is the carpet which has received the most savage treatment. The strange blobs defy conventional perspective, although the intention may have been the opposite. This carte – as with many of the others bearing amateurish daubs – probably originated from the same family in northern Tasmania. … More Two couples, two dogs by A. Bock and T. Nevin

Cousins Edward and Elizabeth baptised at St Mary’s Rotherhithe

First Cousins and both chidren of master mariners, Edward Goldsmith (1836-1883) and Elizabeth Rachel Day (1847-1914 ) were born in London and baptised at St Mary’s Church, Rotherhithe, known as the Mayflower Church, one decade apart. Elizabeth Rachel Day arrived in Hobart Tasmania as an infant, where her sister Mary Sophia was born in 1853, and married professional photographer Thomas J. Nevin at Kangaroo Valley, Hobart on 12 July 1871. Edward Goldsmith made several voyages to Tasmania with his father Captain Edward Goldsmith, attended the Governor’s Levee there in 1855, went to Trinity College Cambridge in 1857, married, became a surgeon, managed his father’s estates in Kent and died young at Rochester, UK, just 43 yrs old … More Cousins Edward and Elizabeth baptised at St Mary’s Rotherhithe

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 commissions with the Colonial government. … More One of the last portraits by Alfred Bock in Hobart 1865

The Master Mariner in-laws: Captains Goldsmith, Day and Axup

Photographer Thomas J. Nevin’s father-in-law on marriage in 1871 was Captain James Day (1806-1882), father of his wife Elizabeth Rachel Day (1847-1914). Her younger sister Mary Sophia Day (1853-1941) married Captain Hector Axup (1843-1927) in 1878. Thomas Nevin’s wife Elizabeth Rachel Day was named after Captain James Day’s sister, Elizabeth Day (1802-1875), who married master mariner Captain Edward Goldsmith (1804-1869) in 1829 at St George, Liverpool, England. … More The Master Mariner in-laws: Captains Goldsmith, Day and Axup

John Nevin snr and the Genge family

The Electoral Rolls and Valuation Rolls for the district of Glenorchy, Tasmania show John Nevin occupying the school house and dwelling at Kangaroo Valley from at least 1858 up to 1887, the year of his death. In 1875, he applied to the Education Board to establish a night school for adult males. The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery holds numerous stereographs of the school house at Kangaroo Valley taken by his son Thomas Nevin … … More John Nevin snr and the Genge family

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

T. NEVIN Photo: the blindstamp on stereographs

This stereograph on salt paper, which was produced by Thomas J. Nevin in the late 1860s of Tasmanian ferns, bears his blind stamp on the viewer’s left side, viz. “T. NEVIN PHOTO”. It belongs to a series of ferns taken around the foothills of Mt Wellington now held at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. This example is held in a private collection of Nevin descendants. … More T. NEVIN Photo: the blindstamp on stereographs

The Odd Fellows’ Hall photograph 1871

THE ODD FELLOWS’ HALL – A very fine photograph of the Odd Fellows’ Hall (corner of Davey and Harrington-streets) has been taken for the Society by Mr. Nevin, of Elizabeth-street. The view is taken from Davey-street, opposite the corner of the Freemasons’ Hotel, and thus shows the entrance to the rooms, with the whole front and side of the buildings. A well-known member of the institution, and a less known youth, have come within the range of the camera, and their presence greatly assists in conveying an idea of the dimensions of the hall. The picture is undoubtedly creditable to the artist. … More The Odd Fellows’ Hall photograph 1871

The Photographer’s wife at the studio

T.  J. NEVIN’S STUDIO, 140 Elizabeth St. Hobart PHOTOCHEMICALS & tutorials ELIZABETH RACHEL NEVIN portraits “Look for a long time at what pleases you and longer still at what pains you.” Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (1873-1954) Photographed from her husband Thomas J. Nevin’s original. Carte-de-visite of Elizabeth Rachel Day, ca. 1870-71. Married on July 12, 1871 to … More The Photographer’s wife at the studio

John Nevin in the Royal Scots at the Canadian Rebellion 1837-38

MOTTO of the ROYAL SCOTS
“Nemo me impune Lacessit”. “No-one touches me with impunity” (or “Dinna mess wi’ me!”)

While research into the life and times of photographer Thomas J. Nevin (1842-1923) in Tasmania has uncovered many fascinating aspects of Australian colonial history, the life and times of his father John Nevin (1808-1887) opens up many more vistas on key world events. Here are details of his service with the Royal Scots 1st Regiment in Canada. … More John Nevin in the Royal Scots at the Canadian Rebellion 1837-38

Husbands and Wives NPG Exhibition 2010

An exhibition of early colonial portraits titled HUSBANDS and WIVES has recently opened at the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra Australia. Apart from the usual collection of cartes-de-visite, there are several daguerreotypes and ambrotypes of individuals, couples and family groups on display, including the coloured ambrotype by Thomas Glaister, ca. 1858 (below, from the NPG online). … More Husbands and Wives NPG Exhibition 2010

Gunner Athol Tennyson Nevin and his WW2 medals

In 1936 Athol was living in Hobart with his mother Gertrude Nevin nee Tennyson Bates and working as a pastry cook. The Electoral Rolls listed him then with the middle name of “CLARENCE”, i.e. Athol Clarence Nevin, but by 1940 when he enlisted in the Australian Army, he had married Winifred Aird and adopted his mother’s father’s middle name TENNYSON as his middle name. He was discharged from the Army in October 1945, having seen extensive warfare with the 2/8 Field Regiment in Egypt and Syria, in the Middle East, and on Borneo, in the Pacific. The 2/8 FR was one of the 9th Division’s three field regiments and it fought as part of the “famous division” at El Alamein and Brunei Bay. … More Gunner Athol Tennyson Nevin and his WW2 medals

The Nevin farm burglariously entered 1881

During the night of the 16th instant the dwelling of John Nevin, Kangaroo Valley, was burglariously entered, and the following articles stolen there-from: – 2 white shirts, one much worn; 2 Scotch twill shirts, one has a patch of different material across the shoulder, the other broken at the elbow; 1 old flannel shirt, stained in front; 1 white pillow-slip; 2 jars of raspberry jam; 2 lbs. soap; 2 lbs. bacon; the property of and shirts identifiable by John Nevin. … More The Nevin farm burglariously entered 1881

Constable W.J. Nevin at inquest 1882

Jack Nevin was his elder brother’s assistant at the Hobart Gaol, Campbell Street during Thomas’ commissions as police photographer in prisons and police courts. He helped maintain one of their photographic studios in New Town, assisting in the production of stereographs and studio portraits on cartes-de-visite intermittently from the 1860s. He was employed at the Hobart Gaol under the supervision of the keeper Ringrose Atkins from 1874, and became a Constable on salary at the male prison at Cascades and H.M. Prison, Hobart in 1875, serving until his untimely death at age 39 in 1891. … More Constable W.J. Nevin at inquest 1882

Thomas Nevin 1886: assistant bailiff to Inspector Dorsett

In early December 1880, Thomas Nevin was dismissed from the position of “Keeper” at the Hobart Town Hall for inebriation while on duty. The Mayor’s Committee expressed deep regret at the dismissal (reported in The Mercury December-January 1880-1881), and mindful of his growing family, the Council decided to retain his photographic services. He was re-assigned to civil service with warrant and photographic duties as assistant bailiff with The Municipal Police Office, located at the Hobart Town Hall. Working principally in the City Police Court and Hobart Supreme Court as assistant to Sub-Inspector John Dorset(t), Nevin continued to provide identification photographs of prisoners up until 1889, a service he had provided for the Prisons Department and MPO since 1872. … More Thomas Nevin 1886: assistant bailiff to Inspector Dorsett

Improprieties: A. H. Boyd and the Parasitic Attribution

The root of the notion that A.H. Boyd had any relationship with photography arose from this children’s story forwarded to the Crowther Collection at the State Library of Tasmania in 1942 by its author, Edith Hall. It was NEVER published, and exists only as a typed story, called “The Young Explorer.” Edith Hall claimed in an accompanying letter, dated 1942 and addressed to Dr Crowther that a man she calls the “Chief” in the story was her uncle A.H. Boyd, and that he was “always on the lookout for sitters”. Hopeful Chief! The imaginative Edith and her description of a room where the child protagonist was photographed (and rewarded for it) hardly accords with a set-up for police photography. The photographing of prisoners IS NOT mentioned in either the story or the letter by Edith Hall. In the context of the whole story, only three pages in length, the reference to photography is just another in a long list of imaginative fictions (many about clothes and servants) intended to give the child reader a “taste” of old Port Arthur, when both the author and her readers by 1942 were at a considerable remove in time. Boyd is not mentioned by name in the story, yet Reeder 1995 (after Long, 1995) and Clark (2010) actually cite this piece of fiction as if it contains statements of factual information. A.H. Boyd has never been documented in newspapers or validated in any government record of the day as either an amateur or official photographer. … More Improprieties: A. H. Boyd and the Parasitic Attribution

John Nevin: “My Cottage in  the Wilderness” 1868

My Cottage in the Wilderness

Tir’d at last of Ocean dangers
I’ve sought and found a lone retreat,
Oft in youth deceiv’d by strangers
My home is now where friends may meet.
In a Vale by woods surrounded,
Romantic scenes I must confess, –
A rural building I have founded,
My cottage in the wilderness. … More John Nevin: “My Cottage in  the Wilderness” 1868

John Nevin and Gould’s white goshawk

WHITE HAWK.- We were yesterday shown a fine specimen of this bird wounded in Kangaroo Valley by Mr. Nevin. The bird is the common White Hawk (Leucospiza Novae Hollandiae) of this colony and Australia, and is well figured in Gould’s large work on Australian Birds under the name of Astur Novae Hollandiae. Gould was formerly of opinion that the White Hawk was merely an albino variety of the New Holland Goshawk, but in his more recent work the “Handbook of Birds of Australia,” he has placed it under the genus Leucospiza. This hawk is by no means rare. … More John Nevin and Gould’s white goshawk

The early deaths of Thomas Nevin’s sisters Rebecca and Mary

In early 1977, Special Collections Librarian at the State Library of Tasmania, G.T. Stilwell, established from archival records (AOT MB 2/98) that parents John and Mary Nevin had arrived in Hobart in 1852 with four children: Thomas, Mary Ann, Rebecca, and William John (Jack). He forwarded this information in a letter to the QVMAG where curator John McPhee was preparing an exhibitions of Thomas Nevin’s photographs of convicts taken in the 1870s… … More The early deaths of Thomas Nevin’s sisters Rebecca and Mary

First son and second child,  Thomas ‘Sonny’ Nevin

Thomas ‘Sonny’ James Nevin jnr (1874-1948) married Gertrude Jane Tennyson Bates (1883-1958) at the Wesleyan Church, Hobart, on February 6th, 1907. Her father, Walter Tennyson Bates, a renowned bandmaster, had died in 1905. By July 1907, Gertrude’s mother, Elizabeth Jane Bates nee Jones, had left Hobart and arrived in Sydney with six of her seven children – Gertrude remaining in Hobart with husband Thomas James ‘Sonny’ Nevin (jnr). Her mother and siblings migrated first to Vancouver, and eventually to California in 1910. … More First son and second child,  Thomas ‘Sonny’ Nevin

Jack Nevin, the other photographer

Constable John (William John aka Jack) Nevin was the younger brother of Tasmanian photographer Thomas J. Nevin and his assistant at the Hobart Gaol, Campbell Street during his brother’s commission as police photographer in prisons. They jointly maintained one of their photographic studios in New Town until the mid 1880s. Constable John Nevin was employed on salary at the Cascades Prison for Males and the Hobart Gaol under the supervision of the keeper Ringrose Atkins from 1874 until his untimely death aged 39 yrs from typhoid fever in 1891. … More Jack Nevin, the other photographer

Key dates in Thomas Nevin’s life

From the early 1860s Thomas Nevin operated a photographic studio at New Town with the business name of “Thomas Nevins”. By 1865 he was apprenticed to photographer Alfred Bock whose residence and studio he leased from A. Biggs at 138-140 Elizabeth Street, Hobart Town on Alfred Bock’s departure for Victoria in 1867 (Hobart Town Gazettes 1870s). Nevin maintained the business name of the studio, The City Photographic Establishment, 140 Elizabeth St. Hobart Town. With partner Robert Smith, they formed the firm Nevin & Smith, producing stereographic views and hand-tinted studio portraits (TMAG and Private Collections). The firm Nevin & Smith was commissioned to take an album of Tasmanian children in 1868 to be presented to the Duke of Edinburgh (State Library of Victoria Collection). The firm of Nevin & Smith was dissolved on 22nd February 1868, undersigned by Thomas Nevin’s solicitor, later Attorney-General, W.R. Giblin. Thomas Nevin exhibited photographs of Melville St under snow (1868) and A Party at the Rocking Stone Mt Wellington (1870) at the Wellington Park Exhibitions (TMAG Collection). He also exhibited stereoscopic views and cartes at the Town Hall Bazaar on 1st April, 1870 (Mercury). For his work as the firm of Nevin & Smith, he was granted a colonial Royal Warrant, and for his work with the Lands and Survey Department of the colonial government, he was granted another colonial Royal warrant by authority. By 1870 Nevin was providing photographs of mining and reservoir works at the Huon and Cascades on government commission, as well as providing group portraits and landscapes for groups of tourists to Lady Franklin’s Museum and Kangaroo Valley. … More Key dates in Thomas Nevin’s life

Working with police and prisoners

The last document (to date) of Thomas Nevin’s direct involvement with government legislation pertaining to police administration was signed as a resolution on the occasion of a bill to be introduced in the House of Assembly to effectively centralise the various municipal and territorial forces. The meeting he attended and its resolutions, which was chaired by His Worship the Mayor Alderman Crouch, was reported in The Mercury, 19 July 1888. Thomas Nevin’s recorded comment was:

“Mr. Thos Nevin was under the impression that the police should be under stricter supervision.” … More Working with police and prisoners