Of all four siblings – from the eldest Thomas James to his sisters Rebecca Jane and Mary Ann – William John Nevin, known to the family as Jack, was the youngest child with the most to gain from his family’s decision to uproot their lives in County Down, Ireland and start again in the remote British penal colony of Van Diemen’s Land. A babe in arms when they arrived at Hobart in July 1852, and a toddler by the time his father had built their cottage at Kangaroo Valley adjacent to Jane Franklin’s Museum in 1854, Jack Nevin at 13 years old was a beautiful boy, the perfect choice for his older brother Thomas to practice full-length studio portraiture … More The sweetest young brother: thirteen year old Jack Nevin 1865
Outdoors, just back from a stroll in the fresh country air, hat in hand, was the theme chosen for Mary Louisa Bayles’ session at Alfred Bock’s studio ca. 1865. He stood her next to a circular metal garden table decorated with a metal stand supporting a bowl of artificial fruits and flowers. Behind her, both on her left and right, two plaster plinths were to suggest a patio balustrade leading to steps rising to a terrace just out of frame. Painted on the backsheet to the viewer’s right, the large tree reaching to the top was to soften the edge of the frame in similar manner to the drape which nearly always appears in Alfred Bock and Thomas Nevin’s indoor studio portraits. In the distance to the viewer’s left, the smaller tree was to deepen perspective while allowing enough blank space to foreground the pose Mary Louisa chose as a complement to the outdoor decor. Only the carpet appears incongruous in a setting which has so much outdoor furniture. That same carpet with a pattern of large dark lozenges rimmed in white appears in several portraits by Thomas Nevin of private clients. He may have acquired it from H. H. Baily whose studio was located almost opposite in Elizabeth Street. It appears in Baily’s portrait of Sara Crouch who was photographed by Thomas Nevin about the same time, ca. 1872. … More Alfred Bock and the Bayles sisters
Between 1865 and 1868, the partnership advertised the firm Nevin & Smith with three types of verso stamps. The most rare and unusual is this one printed for the visit to Hobart Tasmania of Alfred Ernest Albert, the Duke of Edinburgh, second son of Queen Victoria, in command of his yacht HMS Galatea, a steam-powered sail-equipped frigate arriving on 6th January and departing on 18th January 1868 for NSW where, on his return to Sydney, he survived an assassination attempt at Clontarf (12th March 1868). The Children’s Song of Welcome to Prince Alfred. a choral march, was written with lyrics by Louisa Anne Meredith and music by Frederick A. Packer for the occasion. The score was printed with a cover illustration depicting a laurel wreath in green ink encircling the name “Alfred of England”, L.A.M. Del. et Lith. and marked with L.A. Meredith’s monogram. The inside page was printed as a direct address to Queen Victoria. Prince Alfred was presented with an album containing “eighty-three photographs illustrative of the scenery of Tasmania, forty-eight portraits of children born in the colony, and nine plates immediately connected with the Prince’s visit” at his final reception, 18 January 1868. … More Gifts for Prince Alfred’s visit to Hobart, 1868
YES, THIS IS MY ALBUM.
BUT LEARN ERE YOU LOOK,
THAT ALL ARE EXPECTED
TO ADD TO MY BOOK.
YOU ARE WELCOME TO QUIZ IT,
THE PENALTY IS –
YOU ADD YOUR OWN PORTRAIT
FOR OTHERS TO QUIZ.
… More Elizabeth Rachel Day’s album opener 1860s
If the newspaper report is at all accurate, these excursionists danced up a storm. They never stopped. They danced on the bridge, accompanied by a brass band, whatever bridge that may have been, and they danced non-stop on board the Monarch steaming its way up the River Derwent until they reached their destination. Once at Shoobridge’s, they continued dancing non-stop for hours in the hop room, and then moved out to the paddock where they not only danced, they played a game called “kiss the ring” [?]. On the homeward journey, aboard the Monarch, their dancing reached fever-pitch – or, as the reporter phrased it, “all went merry as a marriage peal”. The merriment of the New Norfolk excursionists was captured by Thomas Nevin with three photographs, according to the newspaper report, so where are the photographs now? The only extant photograph of dancers identified as Thomas Nevin’s is this one, printed as a stereograph on a buff mount, and labelled verso with the firm’s name – … More Thomas Nevin and the Terpsichoreans, New Norfolk 1867
How cheap was “cheap”? Three years previously, when Thomas Nevin was assistant in Alfred Bock’s studio at 140 Elizabeth St. Hobart before Bock’s departure and Nevin &Smith acquiring the business, he would have taken exception to the word “cheap” directed at Alfred Bock’s practice. The dispute about the ownership and copyright of the sennotype process between Henry Frith and Alfred Bock in 1864-1865 embittered both to the point of deciding to quit Tasmania. Frith’s rates for carte-de-visite portraits were expensive, two for 10/-, and his disdain for “cheap trash palmed off on the public as cheap photography” was loudly proclaimed in this advertisement in the Mercury of 6th April 1864. … More Tombstones copied, Terms: – Cheap!
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. Two studio stamps and one label have survived from their brief partnership.
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
Seven (7) previously unpublished photographs by Thomas J. Nevin or pertaining to Thomas J. Nevin’s photography from the late 1860s to the mid 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 eventually for each photograph (use search box in sidebar). … More Preview: The Liam Peters Collection
“on Saturday 18th January (the day fixed for his departure) on board the Galatea, to his Excellency the Governor, Mrs Gore Browne and Miss Gore Browne, Her Majesty’s Ministers, the Chairman of the Reception Committee, the Hon JM Wilson MLC, and Mr Tarleton and advantage was taken of this farewell interview to place in the Prince’s hands the album of photographs of Tasmanian scenery which had been prepared under the direction of the Reception Committee for presentation to him from the colonists as a memorial of his visit. The album contained eighty three photographs illustrative of the scenery of Tasmania forty eight portraits of children born in the colony and nine plates immediately connected with the Prince’s visit. The title page was drawn by Mr Alfred Randall and illustrated by Mr WC Piguenit. His Royal Highness was pleased to request that the Reception Committee would furnish him with duplicate copies of all the pictures for the illustration of a work which his Royal Highness is preparing in connection with his visit to the Australasian Colonies…” . So where is this album of photographs of Tasmanian children taken in 1868? … More Portraits of children gifted to Prince Alfred, Hobart, 1868
From the early 1860s Thomas Nevin operated a photographic studio at New Town with the business name of “Thomas Nevins”, i.e. the “s” signifying the possessive, as in “the studio of Thomas Nevin”. By 1865 he was assistant 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 portraits of Tasmanian children in 1868 to be presented to the Duke of Edinburgh (State Library of Victoria Collection). However, the partnership was short-lived. Robert Smith moved to Goulburn, NSW and the firm known as Nevin & Smith was dissolved on 22nd February 1868, undersigned by Thomas Nevin’s solicitor, later Attorney-General, W.R. Giblin. Thomas Nevin continued with the business name, the City Photographic Establishment at the same address, and 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, prize cards and cartes-de-visite at the Tasmanian Poultry Society’s annual exhibition at the Town Hall in August 1869 and the Town Hall Bazaar on 1st April, 1870 (Mercury Friday 1 Apr 1870 Page 2 ). 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 tourists to the Lady Franklin Museum and and John Franklin’s Tree at Kangaroo Valley, Hobart. … More Key dates in Thomas Nevin’s life
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 Photographers Thomas Nevin and Robert Smith, Hobart Tasmania, 1867-1868
This studio stamp from Nevin & Smith with the inclusion of the Prince of Wales’ blazon, is the second type of stamp from Thomas Nevin’s studio that bears an official insignia. Whether his use of this blazon was to signify a commission to contribute to the photograph albums gifted to Prince Alfred is quite possible though as yet undocumented. The blazon was used on decorations for official functions during Prince Alfred’s visit to Hobart in 1868. The banneret (below) adorned the ball given in his honour. Quite different is T. J. Nevin’s official government contractor stamp which appears on prisoner identification photographs taken at the Port Arthur prison and Hobart Gaol (below). It features the Royal insignia of a lion and unicorn rampant encircled by a belt carrying Nevin’s name and studio address. It was devised by government printer James Barnard to endorse all official colonial government documents, including the weekly police gazettes. … More Another rare Nevin & Smith studio stamp
Less than a dozen portraits and stereographs have survived in public and private collections of the work conducted by Robert Smith (n.d.) and Thomas J. Nevin while operating the firm with the name business name “NEVIN & SMITH” at the former studio of Alfred Bock, 140 Elizabeth Street, Hobart (Tasmania) from ca. 1867 to February 1868 when the partnership was dissolved. This rare hand-tinted portrait was taken by Thomas J. Nevin of his fiancée Elizabeth Rachel Day (1847-1914) while in partnership with Robert Smith ca. 1868. … More Nevin & Smith tinted vignette of Elizabeth Rachel Day 1868
Examples of Thomas Nevin’s handwriting can assist in identifying inscriptions on the versos of so many unattributed photographs of the period in public holdings. The handwritten inscription – “Clifford & Nevin, Hobart Town” – which appears on several studio portraits in private and public collections, may be one source of either Nevin’s or Clifford’s calligraphy. … More Signatures and handwriting 1870s
Robert Smith and Thomas J. Nevin established the firm of Nevin & Smith soon after Nevin acquired the stock, studio and glass house of Alfred Bock at 140 Elizabeth St. Hobart Town in 1865 on Bock’s imminent departure from Tasmania. The partnership was brief, lasting less than two years. It was dissolved by Thomas Nevin’s family solicitor, the Hon. W. R. Giblin, in February 1868. Two studio stamps and one label have survived from their brief partnership. The first stamp featuring the Prince of Wales’ blazon 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 the Royal yacht, 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 1867-1868