Thomas Nevin, Sam Clifford and the Flying Squadron at Hobart, January 1870

“The Flying Squadron arrived at Hobart Town on Sunday 2nd January. The Squadron consists of H.M.S. Liverpool, 30 gun steam, frigate, 2,056 tons; -H.M.S. Endymion, 21-gun steam frigate, 2,480 tons; H.M.S Scylla, 10-gun steam- corvette 1,467 tons; H.M.S. Liffey, 30-gun steam frigate, 2,654 tons; H.M.S. Barrosa, 17-gun steam corvette, 1,700 tons; H.M.S. Pheobe, 30-gun steam frigate, 2,800 tons. Large numbers of spectators assembled in various spots to watch the little fleet coming up the harbour under full sail. His Excellency the Governor and suite paid a visit to Rear-Admiral Hornby on board the Liverpool. During the stay of the Squadron, the vessels were thrown open for public inspection and thousands of persons availed themselves of the opportunity. The Liverpool was of course the ship which attracted the greatest number of visitors. The officers had a gay time of it during their eight days stay. They were entertained by the Governor to several dinner parties, to a grand ball at Government House, to a lawn party at the same place, followed by an old colonists’ ball, a regatta, a cricket match, in which both the Governor and Admiral Hornby took part, concerts theatrical entertainments, a picnic at Fern Tree Gully, &c., so that time did not by any means hang heavily on their hands, and they must have left the “tight little island” with the impression that they had a jolly time of it, and had been exceedingly well treated….” … More Thomas Nevin, Sam Clifford and the Flying Squadron at Hobart, January 1870

Thomas Nevin’s stereo view of St Mary’s Cathedral, Hobart, ca. 1874

The view of this church,St Mary’s Cathedral (R.C.), Hobart, Tasmania, was taken by Thomas J. Nevin on commission for Police Superintendent Frederick Pedder (1841-1923), Nevin’s colleague at the Municipal Police Office, Hobart Town Hall. It was passed into the hands of his son, solicitor Alfred Pedder (1881-1977) whose name appears on the verso and whose daughter Sylvia in turn may have donated it to the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery in the 1970s. Other stereographs in this series inscribed verso with “A. Pedder” is a view of Harrington Street and the cathedral from Lime Kiln Hill and a view from across the Huon River to the town known as Victoria. Thomas Nevin’s photograph of this church, St Mary’s Cathedral, 164 Harrington Street, Hobart, was taken a few years before 1876, the date when the lantern tower was removed and a substantial part of the cathedral rebuilt. It was closed for five years, re-opening in 1881. … More Thomas Nevin’s stereo view of St Mary’s Cathedral, Hobart, ca. 1874

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

The abbatoir and cattle yard stereograph ca.1870

The black and white print from another negative taken ca. 1872 of the same location from the same viewpoint with a telegraph pole (?) now evident in the centre of the image is correctly identified as the abbatoirs at Cattle Jetty, Queens Domain, owned and managed by the Hobart City Council. Thomas Nevin would have taken the original photograph a few years earlier under commission as government contractor for the Lands and Survey Dept. of the HCC, and supplied the Council with prints in various formats including a stereograph and unmounted cdv, with at least one photograph printed verso with the Royal Arms insignia of his official government contract stamp. The hand-coloured stereograph to survive bears no stamp verso, which suggests it was randomly saved from the HCC archives, or even studio rejects, and subsequently coloured by family members of a commercial client of Samuel Clifford’s (see stereo below) when reprinted from Nevin’s original sometime before 1878. … More The abbatoir and cattle yard stereograph ca.1870

A remarkable New Town studio stamp: Thomas Nevin+s

Untitled, and held at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, this example by Thomas Nevin of a popular and much photographed vista of the Queen’s Orphan School and St John’s Church, New Town Tasmania, could be titled “Long shadow with guard at the entrance to St John’s Avenue, New Town“. Its uniqueness as an artefact is the very rare studio stamp on the verso.This is the only extant example (to date) of Thomas Nevin’s earliest photography which bears the design with the wording “Thomas Nevins New Town Tasmania” set against a ribbon in three flat loops, enfolding a flowering plant, and printed in bright blue ink. Nevin was barely out of his teens, still a bachelor, and living with his parents in the house built by his father John Nevin next to the Lady Franklin Museum at Kangaroo Valley (New Town, Hobart, Tasmania.) … More A remarkable New Town studio stamp: Thomas Nevin+s

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

Miss Nevin and Morton Allport

When the Nevin family of Kangaroo Valley, Hobart, sat down to read The Mercury on the 4th October 1865, they must have despaired at the notice it contained about their application for aid of £25 p.a. to open a school at Kangaroo Valley, especially Mary Ann Nevin, 18 years old, and determined to start her working life as a teacher. The reporter had mispelt the family name – McNevis instead of Nevin. A week later, when The Mercury reported that Mary Ann’s application was rejected, the reporter again mispelt her name as NEVEN. … More Miss Nevin and Morton Allport

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

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

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

On the road with Sam Clifford and Thomas Nevin 1874

Tasmanian professional photographers Thomas J. Nevin and Samuel Clifford were close friends and business partners from the 1860s until Samuel Clifford’s death in 1890. On this tour, they travelled on the main road north from Hobart to Launceston via Bothwell. In the final week of September 1874, while passing through Bothwell, 45 miles north of Hobart, they were enjoined to photograph the procession of Templars attending a large meeting. The Mercury reported their arrival in the town in a long account of the meeting, published on 26 September, 1874 … More On the road with Sam Clifford and Thomas Nevin 1874

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

Dry plate photography 1860s

Published in London, The Photographic News contained a wealth of news and technical information about processes and equipment. The volume spans a year in the development of dry-plate photography, solar photography, photolithography, glass house construction and a thousand other items of interest in advanced photophysics and photochemistry. Alfred Bock and Thomas Nevin had reconstructed Bock’s glass house at their studio, The City Photographic Establishment, 140 Elizabeth-street, Hobart Town, by 1865, and produced some extraordinary solar photographs. Samuel Clifford, also a partner of Thomas Nevin, applied information from such a source to produce his much praised dry plate photographs using Russell’s Tannin Process, which were exhibited at the Melbourne Intercolonial Exhibition in 1866. … More Dry plate photography 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

Rocking Stone Parties on kunanyi/Mount Wellington

“The Captain of the party pushed forward to the hut at a place called the Springs to have breakfast prepared for us. The water flows down the mountain to the city. It is conveyed by a channel cut in the earth (about three feet wide). The old man & woman who reside at the hut supply visitors with implements and cook what provender they may take with them for which 1/- per head is generally presented to them. We arrived there at 1/2 past eight & were glad to sit down to an excellent breakfast of cold lamb and coffee. We also enjoyed a draught of the cold crystal water from the murmuring spring….” … More Rocking Stone Parties on kunanyi/Mount Wellington

At the Salmon Ponds and Plenty

Samuel Clifford’s name appears only twice in the weekly police gazettes, called Tasmania Reports of Crimes Information for Police between the years 1866-1880, and in both instances because he was a victim of theft: some silver cutlery and a table cloth were stolen from his house and reported on 17th October 1873, and most heart breaking of all, his camera was stolen while staying at the Wilmot Arms at Green Ponds, in the district where these stereographs of the Salmon Ponds were taken. No doubt Samuel Clifford and Thomas Nevin made many trips to the Green Ponds area, and since Clifford reprinted so many of Nevin’s commercial negatives from 1876, placing an accurate date and even a sole attribution to Clifford on the extant albums of views etc is far from straightforward. … More At the Salmon Ponds and Plenty