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

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

Thomas Nevin and Frederick Stops, right-hand man to the A-G

The verso of this photograph carries Thomas Nevin’s most common commercial studio stamp and the wording “This by W. J. T. Stops Esq.”which suggests that the photograph was presented to Frederick Stops by Nevin in 1868, perhaps as a gift to Emily Stops on the birth of their daughter, and was then passed down to his son W. J. T. Stops, who subsequently donated it to the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery from the Stops estate or even from the University archives (Royal Society Collection) where more of Nevin’s photographs are held. It was then inscribed by an archivist on accession with the note – “This by W.J.T. Stops Esq” … More Thomas Nevin and Frederick Stops, right-hand man to the A-G

Thomas Nevin’s glass plates of prisoners 1870s

One example of excessive damage to the original glass plate is evident in this print taken from the negative of Nevin’s only sitting with prisoner Peter Killeen in the week preceding the 20th January, 1875, when Killeen was discharged from the Hobart Gaol. He was given a life sentence for assault and robbery in 1856, and when discharged in 1875 with a ticket-of-leave, he was 64 yrs old. He subsequently re-offended, was sentenced to a further 6 weeks and discharged again on 29 September 1875. Peter Killeen offended again within six months of discharge. He was given a sentence of seven (7) years for larceny at the Supreme Court Hobart on 8th March, 1876, sent to the Port Arthur prison, arriving there on 6th April, 1876, and transferred back to the Hobart Gaol on 17th April, 1877. Peter Killeen died from senile decay, aged 76 yrs, as a Prisoner of the Crown at the Hobart Gaol on 27th June, 1889. See originals of these records here.

The only image, whether extant as duplicates of the carte-de-visite or negative prints surviving from Peter Killeen’s criminal sentences is the one taken by Thomas Nevin at his single sitting with the prisoner in January 1875. The scratched condition of the glass plate by the time of Killeen’s death in 1889 at the Hobart Gaol is evidence of repeated use, the print showing even more wear and tear than the other 39 prints used by Beattie for the line-up of 40 on his three panels created in 1915. … More Thomas Nevin’s glass plates of prisoners 1870s

Portraits of older women by Thomas Nevin 1870s

This collection of studio portraits taken by Thomas J. Nevin in the early 1870s of otherwise unidentified older women includes just one whose name is inscribed verso: Mrs Morrison. Who might she have been? A servant, a farmer, a post-mistress, some relation to Askin Morrison, ship owner, of Morrison Street, opposite Franklin Wharf, Hobart? Or Mrs Morrison, teacher of Kangaroo Point whose health had forced her to retire (Mercury, 6 December 1872). Perhaps she was Mrs Ellen Morrison, licensee of the Launceston Hotel, Brisbane St. on a visit south to Hobart? Whoever this sitter was, she appears to have worked hard all her life, no fuss or frills about it. … More Portraits of older women by Thomas Nevin 1870s

Marcus Clarke and Thomas Nevin at the Old Bell Hotel 1870

Given that Thomas Nevin was partial to a drink, inebriation being the chief reason he was dismissed by the Police Committee from his position of Town Hall keeper in December 1880, the Old Bell Hotel was the closest public bar to his studio during the 1870s. Thomas Nevin was still alive in 1920 (d. 1923) when the hotel, known as the Old Bell, was delicensed, so he may have contributed to this story that Marcus Clarke drank there while writing his famous novel, published in 1870 after a visit to the derelict prison at Port Arthur on the Tasman Peninsula. … More Marcus Clarke and Thomas Nevin at the Old Bell Hotel 1870

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

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

Mugshots removed: prisoner William FORD 1886

William Ford, prisoner, booking photographs taken on 27 July 1886 when he was “disposed of by the Supreme Court”. On the left, a semi profile photograph without hat, unframed; on the right, torso facing front, gaze deflected down and to left, wearing hat, framed as an oval carte-de-visite. Photographed at the Hobart Gaol by Constable John Nevin, produced by Thomas J. Nevin for the Municipal Police Office, Hobart Town Hall. Both photographs were taken and printed within the conventions of 1870s commercial studio portraiture, typical of Nevin’s earlier mugshots of Tasmanian convicts. … More Mugshots removed: prisoner William FORD 1886

Convict portraits by Thomas J. Nevin at the National Library of Australia

In June 2005, the National Library of Australia had digitised just 25 photographs of their collection of 84 prisoner identification cartes-de-visite of Tasmanian prisoners, titled “Convict portraits, Port Arhur,1874”, with the long-standing and correct attribution to commercial and police photographer Thomas J. Nevin. … More Convict portraits by Thomas J. Nevin at the National Library of Australia

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

“Securing a proper likeness”: Tasmania, NSW and Victoria from 1871

Professional photographer Thomas J. Nevin was commissioned by his family solicitor, the Attorney-General W.R. Giblin, to photograph prisoners for the Colonial Government of Tasmania as early as 1871, the year the government of NSW authorised the Inspector of Prisons, Harold McClean, to commence the photographing of all prisoners convicted in the NSW Superior Courts. … More “Securing a proper likeness”: Tasmania, NSW and Victoria from 1871

Childhood photos of son George and daughter Minnie Nevin

The photographer of the original photos was not recorded by the TAHO in 1974, and no studio stamp is evident of the recto of each copy. As the original family album from which they were copied has yet to come to light, a photographer attribution is not yet possible. The copies deposited at TAHO by the Drew family included two childhood photographs of Thomas and Elizabeth Nevin’s daughter Minnie Nevin, and one of son George Nevin. … More Childhood photos of son George and daughter Minnie Nevin

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

T.J. Nevin’s portraits of the McVilly children 1874

Laura (on left) and Richard (centre) were photographed by Thomas J. Nevin at his studio, 140 Elizabeth St. Hobart, a week before Christmas, 18 December, 1874 (per date on verso). Both photographs are hand-tinted. The versos of these two photographs of Laura and Richard bear Nevin’s Royal Arms studio stamp used primarily to indicate photographs taken for the Municipal Police Office within the Hobart City Corporation, and at the Hobart Gaol. Their father, William Thomas McVilly was a constable and later clerk for the Lands and Works Department, HCC and Clerk of Papers, etc., of the Legislative Council in 1883. The unidentified toddler on the left may be a boy rather than a girl, another brother of Laura and Richard called Albert Francis, born 1873. The verso of his/her photograph bears Nevin’s most common commercial studio stamp, unlike the other two, and may have been taken earlier or later than 1874. … More T.J. Nevin’s portraits of the McVilly children 1874

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

From Thomas Bock to Thomas Nevin: Supreme Court prisoner portraits

“… portraits of prisoners taken in the dock …” THOMAS BOCK Police artists worked in the Supreme Court of Tasmania from as early as 1824. An album of portraits of “prisoners taken in the dock” (Dunbar, QVMAG catalogue 1991:25) by Thomas Bock, the father of Thomas Nevin’s mentor Alfred Bock, was on sale at the … More From Thomas Bock to Thomas Nevin: Supreme Court prisoner portraits

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

Thomas Nevin 1886: assistant bailiff to Inspector Dorsett

In early December 1880, Thomas Nevin was dismissed from the position of “Keeper” at the Hobart Town Hall for inebriation while on duty. The Mayor’s Committee expressed deep regret at the dismissal (reported in The Mercury December-January 1880-1881), and mindful of his growing family, the Council decided to retain his photographic services. He was re-assigned to civil service with warrant and photographic duties as assistant bailiff with The Municipal Police Office, located at the Hobart Town Hall. Working principally in the City Police Court and Hobart Supreme Court as assistant to Sub-Inspector John Dorset(t), Nevin continued to provide identification photographs of prisoners up until 1889, a service he had provided for the Prisons Department and MPO since 1872. … More Thomas Nevin 1886: assistant bailiff to Inspector Dorsett

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

An Ornithological Disaster: Thomas Nevin’s emu 1878

AN ORNITHOLOGICAL DISASTER.– A young Emu the property of Mr. Nevin keeper of the Town Hall, came to an untimely end last week by being strangled in trying to force itself through the fence of the paddock in which it was kept at the rear of the Town Hall. The owner states his intention to present the Emu to the Royal Society’s Museum. … More An Ornithological Disaster: Thomas Nevin’s emu 1878

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

Three significant prisoner  cartes by T. J. Nevin

The Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston, holds a number of similar criminal record sheets with ID cartes attached, though the QVMAG has yet to digitise them online. The Tasmanian Archives and Heritage office (State Library of Tasmania) holds registers of prisoner photographs attached to the criminal record sheet with later dates of 1890 and 1892. This document, however, is held on display at the Penitentiary Chapel Historic Site, Hobart. It is a complete prison record on parchment of Allan Matthew Williamson, per the ship Maria Somes (2), from his arrival in Van Diemen’s Land in 1850 right up to his death in 1893. Williamson’s photograph was pasted onto the parchment at the centre of the document, which was folded back on each side, rotated, and used for documenting Williamson’s criminal career for more than forty years. The photograph above of Williamson was taken by Thomas Nevin on Williamson’s discharge from the Hobart Gaol on 8th December 1877 or even earlier. The parchment itself, however, may date to 1867 or even earlier, and the photograph pasted to it a decade later. … More Three significant prisoner  cartes by T. J. Nevin

Thomas Nevin’s GHOST incident makes news in Maitland NSW

“The man in the centre of the road threw a reflection upon the one alongside the wall. The reflection was also upon the wall for a height of about 7 ft. Witness walked quickly towards the man in the road, and at the same time two men came stealthily out of George-street. Witness then commenced to run. One of those who came out of George-street said, “Come back, George.” Witness replied, “Don’t you see this fellow playing the ghost?” when the man in the middle of the road again threw a reflection upon the ghost. Witness arrested this man, who proved to be Nevin. The other two me pursued the man who had been acting as ghost. Nevin was taken to the police station, where he was searched at his own request. There was nothing that would account for the appearance of the ghost found upon him…” … More Thomas Nevin’s GHOST incident makes news in Maitland NSW

Prisoner portraits taken at trial and discharge 1870s

INTENDED PURPOSE

An examination of the criminal history of the individual prisoners whose photographs survive indicates that each photograph was selected, even salvaged by archivists because each man had been committed and sentenced at the Tasmanian Supreme Court for a lengthy term. If sentenced at the Supreme Court in Launceston, he was transferred to the Hobart Gaol where he was bathed, shaved, photographed and isolated for one month in silence after being received, along with those already sentenced in criminal sittings of the Hobart Supreme Court . … More Prisoner portraits taken at trial and discharge 1870s

Cartes-de-visite photographs of convicts by Nettleton and Nevin

Charles Nettleton’s Patents (Victoria) National Archives of Australia Ref: A2388 Registers of Proprietors of Paintings, Photographs, Works of Art and Sculpture Charles Nettleton’s government commission to take photographs of the Benevolent Asylum,  National Museum, the Royal Mint (1873) etc Photography © KLW NFC 2008 ARR PATENTS REGISTRATION The numbers appearing on these cartes-de-visite (below) taken … More Cartes-de-visite photographs of convicts by Nettleton and Nevin

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

Elizabeth Rachel Nevin nee Day & children

NEVIN-DAY – On Wednesday, 12th July, at the Wesleyan Chapel, Kangaroo Valley, by the Rev. J. Hutchison [Hutchinson], Thomas, eldest son of Mr. J. Nevin, of Kangaroo Valley, to Elizabeth Rachael [Rachel], eldest daughter of Captain Day, of Hobart Town.
Thomas and Elizabeth Nevin had seven children between 1872 and 1888, six surviving to adulthood. … More Elizabeth Rachel Nevin nee Day & children

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

The Kangaroo Valley farm & school stereos

AUGUSTA (Co. Buckingham) is a postal village and residential suburb of Hobart Town, in the police district of Hobart, and electoral district of Glenorchy. It is situate on the main road from Hobart Town to Launceston, about 2 miles from the former place, and on the New Town Rivulet, which empties itself in to the Derwent, near Risdon. A portion of Mount Wellington overlooks the district. There are no mills or manufactories in Augusta at present, except a pottery. The surrounding district is agricultural to a large extent. There are several coal seams in the district; two or three are being worked, and produce very good domestic fuel. The communication with Hobart Town is by ‘busses and other conveyances which run hourly. The city of Hobart Town adjoins Augusta N.W. There is one hotel in the village, the Harvest Home. The surrounding country is undulating and hilly. The population numbers about 300 persons. There are places of worship as follows: Church of England, Church of Rome, and Wesleyan Church. … More The Kangaroo Valley farm & school stereos