This photograph taken by Thomas J. Nevin at his studio, the City Photographic Establishment of Elizabeth Allport (1835-1925) is arguably the finest portrait taken of her in her mature years. There is no other photograph – and there were many taken throughout her life – which reveals her sublime grace and character to this extent, a quality due in no small measure to the professional expertise of Thomas J. Nevin. Elizabeth Allport was the elder daughter of Lieutenant Thomas Ritchie, wife of Morton Allport (1830–1878), mother of Curzona (Lily), Minnie, Cecil, Evett and Henry Allport, and a friend to the family of Thomas J. Nevin, his wife Elizabeth Rachel Day and his sister Mary Anne Nevin. … More Elizabeth Allport nee Ritchie at Thomas J. Nevin’s studio 1876
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 (1834) 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
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
Clients of early photographers were advised to wear clothing in strong patterns to distinguish the figure from the background in the final sepia print. This is a very small selection featuring unidentified women from dozens of Thomas J. Nevin’s commercial studio portraits dated from the early to mid 1870s. These clients differed in social status, as the cut and style and fabric of their dresses suggest, in addition to their jewellery and hair-dos, but they wore their finest day dress for the occasion. Some stared directly at the photographer, others gazed towards left or right of the frame. Most are young, but extant portraits of older women who seemed to favour his services also number in the dozens. Each of these cdvs shows variations in Nevin’s studio decor, his portraiture techniques, and printed frames. Some are also hand tinted. … More Nevin’s women clients and their dresses 1870s
Thomas J. Nevin’s photographic commissions to provide documentary records for the Colonial Government’s Lands and Survey Department, date from the late 1860s (1868) while operating from his commercial studio at 140 Elizabeth St. Hobart. Nevin’s next commission from ca. February 1872 onwards was to provide prisoner identification photographs (mugshots) for the Prisons Department, Municipal Police Office, Hobart Town Hall and Hobart Gaol, which was also funded through the Hobart City Corporation’s Lands Department (Treasury). All of Nevin’s extant photographs bearing the Royal Arms insignia stamp were paid through his Lands Department contracts. Several prisoner photographs bearing this particular stamp were used to register joint copyright with the government (one sample per batch per year). Several extant portraits of HCC officials, their wives and children, all bear this Royal Arms insignia, for example, those of Constable William McVilly’s children, Laura and John. Thomas Nevin’s personal relationship with Lands Dept surveyor John Hurst, son of James Hurst who held the lease of the Salt Water Coal Mines on the Tasmanian Pensinsula until his death in 1876, extended to signing the birth registration of William Nevin Tatlow Hurst,John Hurst’s son, as informant at Hobart on 22nd May 1868. On the verso of the river scene below is inscribed the name of Alfred Pedder, son of Nevin’s colleague at the Municipal Police Office, Hobart Town Hall, Police Superintendent Frederick Pedder. Presumably, the cost for these portraits was funded jointly by the HCC and the families. Thomas Nevin was still being paid by the Lands Department in 1880 (Municipal Fund), by then receiving a full-time salary as a civil servant for the four years he served as Hall and Office Keeper of the Hobart Town Hall. … More Views and Portraits for the Lands & Survey Department
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
For some time after Bock’s departure in 1865, Thomas Nevin was using the same supply of blue ink on the same design as Bock’s with just a minimal alteration to include Bock’s name as credential – “T. Nevin Late A. Bock” – enclosed by a belt – the belt being a popular and universal design of the period. The blue ink used in the verso stamp on this portrait of a baby is paler, suggesting Nevin’s supply was running low, expending the last for the vivid blue tinting around the baby’s shoulders, possibly executed by a studio assistant. … More Thomas J. Nevin’s Blue Ink Series
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
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
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
Seven (7) previously unpublished photographs by Thomas J.Nevin or pertaining to Thomas J. Nevin’s photography from the 1870s were scanned and submitted to this weblog by private collector Liam Peters in December 2010. The brief descriptions below of each item will be expanded into an article for each photograph within the next few months. … More Preview: The Liam Peters Collection
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 Thomas Nevin and Robert Smith 1865-1868
Thomas J. Nevin belonged to a cohort of Tasmanian professional photographers of the 1860s-1880 which included his two partners Alfred Bock who was an accomplished sennotypist (until 1867) and Samuel Clifford whose output of stereographs was prodigious (1860s-1878). From Bock he learnt studio portraiture, from Clifford he learnt stereography. Others with a close association were Charles A. Woolley who experimented with mega and micro photography and whose father furnished the cohort’s studios with carpets, tables, chairs, wall hangings etc from his furniture warehouse; Alfred Winter who was a society portraitist and landscape photographer; and the Nevin family friend, H. H. Baily who was also a press lithographer. … More Charles A. Woolley and H.H. Baily
Two studio stamps and one label have survived from their brief partnership. The first stamp featuring the Royal insignia 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 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 1865-1868