Thomas Nevin’s stereographs from the Pedder collection

Lawyers, barristers, magistrates, politicians, police superintendents, detectives, their families and their prisoners were photographed by Thomas J. Nevin from the late 1860s to the 1880s. The Pedder family of magistrates and police officers, the family of solicitor John Woodcock Graves the younger, the McVilly family of teachers and police officers, and the family of Attorney-General the Hon. W. R. Giblin, all made use of Thomas J. Nevin’s commission with the colonial government’s Lands and Survey Department, the Municipal Police Office and Mayor’s Court, and the Hobart City Corporation to provide them with stereographic views and carte-de-visite portraits. The stereograph by Thomas J. Nevin ca. 1868-1870 of the Lady Franklin Museum, Kangaroo Valley bearing the inscription “A. Pedder” on verso, is one of least four held in the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery collections. Solicitor Alfred Pedder (1881-1977) may have kept these stereographs by Thomas Nevin from the estate of his father, Police Superintendent Frederick Pedder (1841-1923) who was a colleague of Nevin’s at the Municipal Police Office, Hobart. Alfred Pedder’s daughter Sylvia in turn may have donated them to the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery in the 1970s … More Thomas Nevin’s stereographs from the Pedder collection

Dan Sprod and Thomas Nevin’s photography in the 1970s

During the 1970s publishers John Ferguson of Sydney commissioned established authors to research and collect old photographs to be published as a series of books called “Victorian and Edwardian [insert name here of an Australian city, e.g. Sydney, Adelaide etc]  from old photographs”. Patsy Adam-Smith, for example, compiled the Melbourne edition, Victorian and Edwardian Melbourne from old photographs in 1979. Dan Sprod was commissioned by Ferguson publishers to compile the Hobart edition in 1976. The draft papers of his research for this book, published in 1977 as Victorian and Edwardian Hobart from old photographs , are held at the National Library Australia, Canberra, where he was Chief Librarian during the 1960s. The impetus behind this emergent interest in Australian 19th century and early 20th century photography was money. Old photographs and early cameras were commanding large prices at auctions. The Tasmanian Saturday Evening Mercury published this article – “Your old photos could be valuable” – on November 15th, 1975, listing the handsomely high prices fetched for old prints and photo equipment at Christies of London in the previous two years. Prints by Tasmanian photographers of the 1880s – Spurling, Anson and Beattie – were touted here as worthy collectables: … More Dan Sprod and Thomas Nevin’s photography in the 1970s

Prisoner Henry CLABBY and the TMAG frame-up

The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery constructed four wooden-framed collages under glass from their collection of Thomas Nevin’s prisoner mugshots for an exhibition titled Mirror with a Memory at the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, in 2000. Henry Clabby’s image was placed top row, centre in this frame. However, for reasons best described as blind-sided, the TMAG staff who chose these mugshots sent three of the four frames to Canberra, six per frame, with labels on the back of each wooden frame stating quite clearly that the photographs were attributed to A. H. Boyd, the much despised Commandant of the Port Arthur prison who was not a photographer by any definition of the term, nor an engineer despite any pretension on his part and especially despite the social pretensions of his descendants who began circulating the photographer attribution as a rumour in the 1980s to compensate no doubt for Boyd’s vile reputation.
More Prisoner Henry CLABBY and the TMAG frame-up

The barque “Harriet McGregor” 1870s

Inscribed on this glass plate taken with a stereo camera of a ship berthed at the New Wharf, Hobart – not the Old wharf – is the wording “Taken 4th Feb 1871” on the right hand side. Mirror-flip the image vertically, and wording becomes clear, the hand-writing identifiable, and therefore the photographer who took it. This is Thomas J. Nevin’s handwriting, examples of which are found on the versos of photographs, and on the birth registrations of his children 1872, 1876, 1878, 1880, 1884, and 1888. The only birth registration not signed by Nevin was of his son Thomas James Nevin jnr in 1874; it was signed by his father-in-law master mariner Captain James Day while Nevin was away on business at the Port Arthur prison. … More The barque “Harriet McGregor” 1870s

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