Portraits and landscapes from T. J. Nevin’s cohort

A full-length carte-de-visite studio portrait of a young girl, possibly nine years old wearing a dark dress with a white collar and braiding along the sleeve, showing the lace of her bloomers at the hem against her bare legs. Spats cover her shoes. Her hair hangs loose in ringlets, and her gaze is slightly dropped and held steady to the viewer’s left. The studio decor includes an occasional table on wheels to the viewer’s right of frame on which sits a book, and a dining chair on the left on which the child rests her right arm. In her left hand she holds a thickly folded card. Charles Woolley’s signature technique was to produce prints in rich dark tones which made his portraits especially appealing. The verso bears Woolley’s “Advance Tasmania” studio stamp with emu and kangaroo animal iconography flanking the Tasmanian colonial insignia. His studio address for more than two decades was 42 Macquarie St. Hobart where he also ran a furniture business with his father. He must have supplied furniture, carpets and wall-hangings to all the Hobart photographic studios during the 1860s, and even sold items from his own studio when he ceased professional practice in the 1870s, because the same items appear in different photographers’ studio portraits. … More Portraits and landscapes from T. J. Nevin’s cohort

Amy Bock’s bid for marriage equality in 1909 in New Zealand

Amy Bock and Agnes Ottaway married on 21 April 1909 in Dunedin, NZ. Four days later Amy Bock was arrested at the Ottaways’ boarding house. She was convicted in the Dunedin Supreme Court on 27 May on two counts of false pretences and one of forgery, and was finally declared an habitual offender. The marriage was annulled on 17 June 1909. Was it a bid for “marriage equality” or not? … More Amy Bock’s bid for marriage equality in 1909 in New Zealand

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

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

Photographers A. Bock, S. Clifford and T. Nevin at Port Arthur

In late March, 1866, photographer Alfred Bock was at the Port Arthur prison site on the Tasman Peninsula, 60 kms south of Hobart at the request of its Commandant, James Boyd. Alfred Bock’s studio – The City Photographic Establishment – at 140 Elizabeth Street, Hobart, was manned by his junior partner Thomas Nevin and his apprentice, younger brother William Bock, in his absence. Bock’s mission at Port Arthur was to provide a series of landscapes and portraits of officials. However, it was photographer Samuel Clifford, Nevin’s friend and mentor, of Liverpool Street, Hobart, who was the source and supplier of photographic materials to the Port Arthur prison administration, in this instance for Alfred Bock in March 1866, and again in August 1873, when Clifford himself visited the prison site. … More Photographers A. Bock, S. Clifford and T. Nevin at Port Arthur

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

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

Alfred Bock’s other apprentice: William Bock

WILLIAM BOCK left Tasmania in 1868, returned in 1874 to marry his fiance Rebecca Finlay, and returned to Wellington New Zealand where he thrived as an engraver, lithographic printer,medallist, stamp designer, and illuminator. William Bock is considered the most important and innovative contributor to the development of New Zealand stamp production from 1875 to 1931, He died in 1932. … More Alfred Bock’s other apprentice: William Bock

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

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

Thomas Nevin self portraits 1850s-1880

There are not many extant “self portraits” of Tasmanian colonial photographers of the 1850s-1880. The watercolour attributed to Alfred Bock of a young gentleman is held at the State Library of Tasmania; the stereograph of a supine Thomas Nevin and friend is held at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery; and the rest are held in descendants’ private collections. These portraits all exhibit interesting variations in male facial hair fashions. … More Thomas Nevin self portraits 1850s-1880

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

Alfred Bock & Thomas Nevin at Port Arthur 1860s

PERSONAL: – Mr Alfred Bock, writing from Auburn, Victoria, intimates that he is not dead, neither is he “the late Mr. Bock”, as stated in a note under a picture of the late Mr Boyd in a recent copy of “The Tasmanian Mail.” He adds:- “I suppose by the ‘late Mr. Bock’ it means to refer to my father, but he never took a photograph in his life. The picture was actually taken by me on the occasion of my visiting Port Arthur at the request on the officers of the station for the purpose of painting a portrait of Mr Boyd for presentation to that gentleman; I think about 1863 or 1864; I am not quite sure as to the year. I should be glad if you could make the correction, especially as some of my friends have been inquiring about my decease.
More Alfred Bock & Thomas Nevin at Port Arthur 1860s

Charles A. Woolley and H.H. Baily

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