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

The concertina player 1860s

This untitled stereograph by Thomas J. Nevin, taken ca. 1868 of a group of 19 people sitting by a stream, including a woman holding a concertina, is held at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Ref: Q1994.56.31. Photographed together with its blank verso on 10th November, 2014 at the TMAG (by this weblog), the stereo is one of a series, some bearing Nevin’s New Town stamp, some blank, originally attributed and sequenced by Specialist Collections librarian G. T. Stilwell at the State Library and Archives Office of Tasmania in the 1970s while preparing an exhibition of Nevin’s portraits of convicts (at the QVMAG with John McPhee 1977). … More The concertina player 1860s

Captain Edward Goldsmith and the patent slip 1855

Failure of trust had marked Captain Goldsmith’s experiences with Hobartonians since the year of departure of his good friend, Lieutenant-Governor Sir John Franklin and his wife Jane Franklin in 1843. Sir William Denison, the Colony’s governor in 1849 was most enthusiastic about Captain Goldsmith’s plans for a patent slip, but the government’s refusal to recompense him fully for expenses in building the twin steamer the Kangaroo, had already led to major disappointment. The final insult came with the government not meeting their own terms of agreement in promising assistance to build the patent slip. … More Captain Edward Goldsmith and the patent slip 1855

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

Blame it on Beattie: the Parliamentarians photograph

Amateur photo-historian Chris Long was among the first to be targeted by A. H. Boyd’s descendants in 1984 with only their hearsay offered as proof, and together with co-editor Gillian Winter, assumed that there would be extant photographs by A. H. Boyd, if indeed he had photographed prisoners. Strangely enough, they found none. Gillian Winter found mention of THREE photographs of parliamentarian George William Keach, his wife and daughter, with a Boyd attribution in the Archives Office Tasmania. But those photographs were missing from the original Allport Album when she listed its contents. Those photographs were taken by Sydney photographer Thomas H. Boyd, loosely collated originally with other carte-de-visite items taken of Allport family members and their friends by photographers in Hobart, Melbourne, Brisbane, Rome and elsewhere … … More Blame it on Beattie: the Parliamentarians photograph

Constable Blakeney’s revenge on Thomas Nevin 1880

Within a week of being reinstated, Blakeney was intent on compromising Nevin. He had most likely coerced the other two constables, Oakes and Priest, to invent the story that “the ghost” had appeared in Nevin’s company, since their witness accounts were not consistent. Nevin denied having seen anyone dressed in a white sheet. Blakeney’s demotion was the result of intoxication, and he was intent on making Nevin suffer the same fate when he sought out Nevin on the night of the arrest. … More Constable Blakeney’s revenge on Thomas Nevin 1880

Captain Edward Goldsmith in Davey Street Hobart 1854

Elizabeth Nevin’s uncle and benefactor, master mariner Captain Edward Goldsmith, first arrived in Van Diemen’s land in 1830 and departed never to return in 1856. He retired to Gad’s Hill, Kent, and became a neighbour of Charles Dickens in 1857. He did not become a colonist, nor did he profit directly from convict transportation. His many and varied services during those years to the mercantile, horticultural and shipping development of the colony were inestimable. He bought and sold land, built a patent slip and steam ferry, sat on civic committees, established a marine insurance company, and set up a permanent residence for his family at lower Davey Street, Hobart, although he was away at sea for most of every year. The playwright and journalist David Burn who met him in Sydney in 1845, noted in his diary that Captain Goldsmith’s turnaround was eight months (SLNSW Call No: B190): from England via the Americas or the Cape of Good Hope to the Australian colonies for a single a round trip took just eight months, and during all those voyages not one major incident was ever reported (apart from his very first command on the James to W.A. in 1830 … … More Captain Edward Goldsmith in Davey Street Hobart 1854

The Albumen Process: examples by Thomas J. Nevin ca. 1874

“I always prepare my albuminized paper with the pure white of eggs, which I believe to be preferable to all the cheaper compounds that have been substituted for it. Take any quantity of albumen with double the quantity of water, adding eight grains of chloride of ammonium to each ounce of the mixture. Whip up with a bunch of quills into a froth. The albumen will subside in an hour or two, then filter through a piece of fine linen cloth that has been previously slightly singed over a spirit lamp. Pour the albumen into a flat dish and float the paper for about three or four minutes, having previously folded back one of the corners of the sheet in order to keep it from coming into contact with the albumen. If the paper is pinned up by this unalbuminized corner, it will dry without the least streak or imperfection, but if the albumen conies into contact with the pin. a drip will begin which will end in innumerable streaks. By this precaution much paper may be saved…” … More The Albumen Process: examples by Thomas J. Nevin ca. 1874

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

Nevin Street and the Cascades Prison for Males

The 1935 Hobart Walkers Club map (detail above) shows two very distinct routes to the southeast which John Nevin might have chosen in the 1870s on his journey from the family farm at Kangaroo Valley, situated next to the Lady Franklin Museum where Thomas and John’s father John Nevin snr had built their cottage. Whether on foot or horseback, the first and longer route he could have taken was along Kangaroo Valley road, alternatively titled Lenah Valley Road by 1922, to the waterhole and the cabin named by the Old Hobartians (alumni of Hobart High School) as their own by 1935. He would then veer south on the path to the New Town Falls, crossing Brushy Creek until arriving at the edge of a very steep ravine . Once there, he would join the McRobies track until arriving at the Hobart Rivulet, passing below the Cascades Brewery. The track, much wider at that point, passed by the cemetery, and ended directly opposite the Cascades Prison… … More Nevin Street and the Cascades Prison for Males

John Watt Beattie and the Nevin family legacy

The friendship between these two photographers, Thomas J. Nevin and John Watt Beattie extended back to 1887 on the death of Thomas Nevin’s father, John Nevin at the family house and farm adjacent to the Lady Franklin Museum at Kangaroo Valley (renamed Lenah Valley in 1922). It had long been a wish of John Nevin that the Franklin Museum be restored to its original purpose when first built on Jane Franklin’s land, named Ancanthe, as a library and botanical museum, but by 1887, it was little more than a storage shed for local orchardists and farmers. As a gesture towards reviving John Nevin’s wish, before his own death in 1930, John Watt Beattie approached the Hobart City Corporation with a proposal to house his vast convictaria collection in the Lady Franklin Museum at Kangaroo Valley (Lenah Valley) but the HCC declined. … More John Watt Beattie and the Nevin family legacy

Thomas J. Nevin’s Blue Ink Series

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

Prisoner Nathan HUNT 1870s-1890s

This later photograph of Nathan Hunt taken by Constable John Nevin was printed in the earlier format of an oval framed carte-de-visite vignette typical of his brother Thomas’ commercial technique of printing his 1870s mugshots for the Municipal Police Office and Hobart Gaol. This photograph is only the third mugshot to surface of a Tasmanian prisoner wearing a prison issue cap; the earlier mugshots taken by Thomas Nevin of prisoners James Mullins and William Smith at the Hobart Gaol in 1875 show both men wearing the “black leathern cap” manufactured by prisoners at Port Arthur in 1873. The prison issue woollen cap also made by prisoners at Port Arthur in 1873 is shown here, worn by Nathan Hunt in this later mugshot dated 1890. … More Prisoner Nathan HUNT 1870s-1890s

Captain Edward Goldsmith and the Waterloo 1832

The WATERLOO 1832
Despite the trials and calamities which beset his very first command as a young master of the James on the voyage to the Swan River, Western Australia, in 1830, Captain Edward Goldsmith returned to London on board the Norval via Hobart and Sydney (dep. 26 April 1831) to command another ship bound for the port of Hobart, the Waterloo (not to be confused with the convict transport the Waterloo which was shipwrecked at Cape Town in 1842). First Mate on board the Waterloo (1832) was his brother-in-law, James Day, arriving 5 August at Hobart and 22 August at Sydney. … More Captain Edward Goldsmith and the Waterloo 1832

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

Tom and May Nevin at the Union Chapel flower show 1892

THE UNION CHAPEL
Samuel Clifford and partner Thomas Nevin produced this photograph as a stereograph of the Congregational Union Chapel in Bathurst Street Hobart not long after it was built by the Rev. J. W. Simmons in 1863. It was also known as “The Helping Hand Mission” . In 1892 the Congregational Union held a flower show at the Chapel to raise much needed funds for repairs to the building. Tom and May Nevin – the two eldest of Thomas and Elizabeth Nevin’s six children – entered chrysanthemums and flower arrangements as a contribution. … More Tom and May Nevin at the Union Chapel flower show 1892

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

Captain Edward Goldsmith and the McGregor family

The patent slip at the Queen’s Domain in Hobart was established by Elizabeth Rachel Nevin’s uncle, Captain Edward Goldsmith, in 1854 from machinery he brought out from London on his favorite trading barque The Rattler. He obtained a long lease on the foreshore of the Domain to lay the slip on the condition that the terms of the lease were fulfilled. When he withdrew from the lease in 1855 due to the death of his 25 yr old son Richard Sydney Goldsmith only months earlier, among other reasons to do with costs and prison labor, Captain Alexander McGregor bought Captain Goldsmith’s interest. … More Captain Edward Goldsmith and the McGregor family

Testimonial to Captain Edward Goldsmith 1849

-Upon receiving the cup, Capt. Goldsmith remarked that he would retain the token until death ; and, with reference to some observations made by Mr. Carter, intimated it was not improbable he should next year, by settling in Van Diemen’s Land with Mrs. Goldsmith, become a fellow-colonist.

-The goblet, which was manufactured by Mr. C. Jones, of Liverpool-street, bears the following inscription:-“Presented to Captain Goldsmith, of the ship Rattler, as a slight testimonial for having introduced many rare and valuable plants into Van Diemen’s Land. January, 1849.” The body has a surrounding circlet of vine leaves in relief. The inscription occupies the place of quarterings in a shield supported the emu and kangaroo in bas relief, surmounting a riband scroll with the Tasmanian motto-” Sic fortis Hobartia crevit.” The foot has a richly chased border of fruit and flowers. In the manufacture of this cup, for the first time in this colony, the inside has undergone the process of gilding. … More Testimonial to Captain Edward Goldsmith 1849

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 Service Record in the First or Royal Regiment 1825-1841

John Nevin’s full service lasted 14 years and 237 days in the West Indies and Canada. His record shows his service in the West Indies dated from 30th November 1827 to 30th January 1836, and in Canada from 16th June 1836. He was discharged at London, West Canada on 31 May 1841 on medical grounds (rheumatism, liver complaints, disease of the urinary organs), and returned to England eventually as a Chelsea pensioner. … More John Nevin snr Service Record in the First or Royal Regiment 1825-1841

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

Queen’s Brian May & Elena Vidal on T.R. Williams’ stereography 1850s

T.R. Williams’ stereographs taken of scenes in an English village in the 1850s (“Scenes in Our Village”) have been reproduced by Brian May and Elena Vidal in a superb publication, “A Village Lost and Found” . The book comes in a slip case that includes a stereoscopic viewer invented by Brian May “which makes the magic happen”. … More Queen’s Brian May & Elena Vidal on T.R. Williams’ stereography 1850s

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

Samuel Clifford, Thomas Nevin and two cameras

DOUGLAS STEWART FINE BOOKS LTD HOBART BOOK FAIR was held on February 12 – 13, 2011 with three items on sale pertaining to Thomas J. Nevin’s commercial photography.
STEREOGRAPH of CLIFFORD’S CAMERA
The first was this stereograph attributed to Samuel Clifford but ostensibly showing Clifford’s camera. Who took the photograph? Did Clifford carry two cumbersome cameras with him into this dense bush setting at Brown’s River, or was he accompanied – as so often he was around Tasmania – by Nevin? If so, the stereograph deserves the double attribution of Clifford & Nevin, an inscription which appears on several items also held in private collections. … More Samuel Clifford, Thomas Nevin and two cameras

The Mayor’s Court and the Hobart Town Hall Keeper

Meet Mr Mike Lonergan, present Keeper of the exquisite Faranese Palace miniature, the Hobart Town Hall, Tasmania (erected in 1866). His impromptu guided tour of his ground floor offices and the Mayor’s Court room was a revelation. To the left of the main entrance, Mr Lonergan pointed firstly to his office which had always been occupied by the Keeper, and where Thomas J. Nevin had sat at a desk during his incumbency in the position as both the Town Hall Keeper, and as the official police photographer for the Municipal Police Office, also housed in the Town Hall in those years, between his appointment to the civil service in 1875 and his dismissal in 1880. … More The Mayor’s Court and the Hobart Town Hall Keeper

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

Chiniquy rioters injuring the Town Hall 1879

The eight rioters “were charged with riotously injuring a building”, “riotously injuring the Town Hall” and specifically – “the breaking open of the ante-room of the Town Hall” . The charges would have incurred a severe penal code punishment of seven years’ imprisonment and a trial at the Supreme Court. However, Attorney-General Giblin sought to substitute the charge with the lesser one of disturbing the peace, and at this sitting, reported in The Mercury on 11th July 1879, the charges were withdrawn entirely because of Giblin’s concern with excessive costs involved in such a trial.

More Chiniquy rioters injuring the Town Hall 1879

A missing or unidentified mugshot: prisoner Alfred HARRINGTON

The research we have provided on these weblogs since 2003 about the police work of professional photographer Thomas J. Nevin in Tasmania during the 1870s and the mugshots he produced has stimulated and inspired a global reading public. If you are curious enough to pursue your own detective work regarding the prisoner’s identity in this handful of the few remaining mugshots yet to be documented (see below), take advice from researcher Peter Doyle. In his latest publication of mugshots from the NSW Justice and Police Museum , Crooks Like Us (2009), Doyle states that the police gazettes were the first he consulted and the most reliable source of information (p.312). The equivalent Tasmanian police gazettes are available as searchable CDs (from Gould’s) and are also online at the Archives Office of Tasmania (although not as easily searchable). … More A missing or unidentified mugshot: prisoner Alfred HARRINGTON

Habitual offender Edward WALLACE at Hobart Gaol

Edward Wallace aka Timothy Donovan was a transported felon, arriving in Hobart from Dublin on board the Blenheim (2), on February 2nd, 1849. He became an habitual offender. His photograph is held at the Mitchell Library Sydney, SLNSW, in a box of nine cartes-de-visite of prisoners taken by Thomas J. Nevin at the Hobart Gaol. The collection was bequeathed by David Scott Mitchell to the State Library of NSW ca 1907 (PXB 274). The Mitchell Library has catalogued all these nine photographs with the date “1878”; however, two of the photographs were taken by Nevin in 1875 (those of Mullins and Smith), and this one, of Edward Wallace was more likely to have been taken by Nevin in 1872 or early 1873, when Wallace was re-arrested for absconding from the Hobart Gaol. … More Habitual offender Edward WALLACE at Hobart Gaol