Thomas Nevin and Alfred Barrett Biggs 1872-1876

Posing with an upturned riding crop or cane in his right hand, his left hand resting on the chair where someone decorously placed a book and top hat as signifiers of class and literacy, Alfred Barrett Biggs appears anything but relaxed at the point of capture, despite the casual stance with right leg bent at the knee crossing the left. Although his gaze fell slightly to the left of where Thomas Nevin stood while composing the shot, the exchanges of dialogue between the two men at that point would not explain why Alfred’s eyes fairly burn, they are so bright. Very light or pale blue eyes can cause this sort of look and pin pricks or black dots were sometimes used by studio assistants to accentuate or even animate the client’s eyes when they do appear too pale. Even though Alfred’s eyes do not appear exceedingly light in later portraits taken in the 1880s and 1890s (see Addenda 3 below), his pupils were darkened in this portrait with black ink, and because the alignment of each black dot is slightly askew, Alfred appears somewhat overwrought and anguished. … More Thomas Nevin and Alfred Barrett Biggs 1872-1876

Portraits of older women by Thomas Nevin 1870s

This collection of studio portraits taken by Thomas J. Nevin in the early 1870s of otherwise unidentified older women includes just one whose name is inscribed verso: Mrs Morrison. Who might she have been? A servant, a farmer, a post-mistress, some relation to Askin Morrison, ship owner, of Morrison Street, opposite Franklin Wharf, Hobart? Or Mrs Morrison, teacher of Kangaroo Point whose health had forced her to retire (Mercury, 6 December 1872). Perhaps she was Mrs Ellen Morrison, licensee of the Launceston Hotel, Brisbane St. on a visit south to Hobart? Whoever this sitter was, she appears to have worked hard all her life, no fuss or frills about it. … More Portraits of older women by Thomas Nevin 1870s

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

A first-class faithful Likeness, February 1873

Personal friendships, mutual business support and Lodge affiliations ensured priority and preference, and in Thomas Nevin’s case, his family solicitor, Attorney-General W.R. Giblin, and his Loyal United Brothers membership played a key role in the offer to provide the Municipal and Territorial Police, and the Prisons Department with identification photographs of convicted criminals. “A first-class faithful likeness” is exactly what the police wanted of the prisoner and ex-convict population. … More A first-class faithful Likeness, February 1873

Marcel Safier Collection

This full-length studio carte-de-visite portrait of an unidentified woman in a hat, holding her umbrella and bag in gloved hands, was taken by Thomas J. Nevin ca. 1871 at his studio, the City Photographic Establishment, 140 Elizabeth St. Hobart, Tasmania. The cdv gives a clear view of his studio decor at that time: the lozenge-patterned carpet; the shiny leather-covered slipper chair; the table with griffin-shaped legs; and the painted wall hanging featuring a patio terrace, balustrade, and meandering river disappearing into the distance. Thomas Nevin did not include the middle initial “J” in his stamp on the verso of these earlier 1870s cartes.  “T. J. Nevin Photographic Artist” was printed on  his government contractor stamp bearing the Royal Arms colonial warrant insignia from late 1872 to 1876 to signify that he was a government contractor while still operating as a commercial photographer from his Elizabeth Street studio. … More Marcel Safier Collection

Hugh Munro Hull & the wallhanging

The talented Hugh Munro Hull (1818-1882) was a lithographer, artist, historian, author, and photographer. He was also the Clerk of the House and Librarian to the Tasmanian Parliament. This full-length photograph of Hugh Munro Hull in official dress was taken by Alfred Bock or Thomas Nevin at their studio, The City Photographic Establishment, 140 Elizabeth-street Hobart between 1863 and 1868 where one of their backdrops featured a square tiled terrace pattern rising in perspective to a painted balustrade overlooking a vista of disappearing river and mountains. … More Hugh Munro Hull & the wallhanging