Friday, May 25, 2012

Queen's Brian May & Elena Vidal on T.R. Williams' stereography

A FORGOTTEN PIONEER of STEREOGRAPHY 1850s
T.R. Williams' stereographs taken of scenes in an English village in the 1850s ("Scenes in Our Village") have been reproduced by Brian May and Elena Vidal in a superb publication, "A Village Lost and Found" . The book comes in a slip case that includes a stereoscopic viewer invented by Brian May "which makes the magic happen".

T R Williams stereo 1850s

T R Williams stereo 1850s

In these videos, Brian May and Elena Vidal explain the history and principles of stereography, and the inception of their book.



"You can find some grubby old card in an auction house ... and suddenly you can walk into another world."



"A Village Lost and Found" The London Stereoscopic Society 2009






THOMAS NEVIN'S STEREOGRAPHS 1860s
T.J. Nevin printed his stereographs using the same card frame, and the same type of photographer's blind impress stamp evident in T.R. Williams' work, suggesting direct knowledge of Williams as a pioneer of the science and art.

More than fifty stereographs by T. Nevin held at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery - many depicting scenes of Augusta, the village at Kangaroo Valley (now Lenah Valley, Hobart) where the Nevin family resided on land adjoining the Lady Franklin Museum - reflect similar thematic conventions in T.R. Williams' original "Scenes in Our Village" in which short poems were written to accompany each . Thomas Nevin's father, John Nevin, published a poem in 1868 about the cottage he built at Kangaroo Valley, and his son Thomas Nevin produced an accompanying photograph of the cottage. And like T.R. Williams who was largely forgotten until Brian May's publication, scant attention had been paid to Thomas J. Nevin until the appearance of this blog and its associated sites.





Mary Ann Nevin (1844-1878), sister of Thomas J. Nevin,
dipping a glass at New Town rivulet, Kangaroo Valley Hobart Tasmania, ca. 1870.
Salt paper stereograph taken by Thomas J. Nevin ca. 1870
Photo © KLW NFC Imprint & The Nevin Family Collections 2012


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

T. NEVIN PHOTO: The blindstamp impress on stereographs



These two stereographic prints on salt paper, which were produced by Thomas J. Nevin in the late 1860s of Tasmanian ferns, bear his blind stamp, viz. "T. NEVIN PHOTO". They belong to a series of stereographs of ferns taken around the foothills of Mt Wellington, several held at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. These two stereographs are held in a private collection of Nevin descendants.

T. Nevin stereo of Tasmanian ferns 1868

T. Nevin stereo of Tasmanian ferns 1868

Impress: "T. NEVIN PHOTO" stereographs of Tasmanian ferns ca. 1868
Copyright © KLW NFC Imprint and The Nevin Family Collections 2012 ARR

Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery Collections

TMAG Ref: Q1994.56.13 T. Nevin impress

TMAG Ref: Q1994.56.13 T. Nevin impress

At least five stereographs of ferns by Thomas Nevin are held at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, dated to ca. 1870. The TMAG catalogue entries (online until 2006) included these details:

Q1994.56.13 ITEM NAME: Photograph: MEDIUM: sepia salt paper stereoscope , MAKER: T Nevin [Artist]; DATE: 1870c  DESCRIPTION : Fern Tree INSCRIPTIONS & MARKS: Impress on front: T Nevin/ photo

Q16826.34 ITEM NAME: photograph: MEDIUM: albumen silver print sepia toned stereoscope, MAKER: T J Nevin [Photographer]; DATE: 1870s DESCRIPTION : Ferns. Possibly near Hobart, maybe Mt.Wellington or KangarooValley.

Q16826.33 ITEM NAME: photograph: MEDIUM: albumen silver print sepia toned stereoscope, MAKER: TJ Nevin [Photographer]; DATE: 1870s DESCRIPTION : Ferns. Possibly near Hobart, maybe Mt.Wellington.

Q16826.31 ITEM NAME: photograph: MEDIUM: albumen silver print sepia coloured stereoscope, MAKER: Nevin T. [Artist]; DATE: 1870s DESCRIPTION : Ferns With Snow. Ferns with snow, possibly at Kangaroo Valley. (LenahValley)

Q16826.30 ITEM NAME: photograph: MEDIUM: albumen silver print sepia coloured stereoscope, MAKER: T J Nevin ? [Artist]; TITLE: 'Ferns Kangaroo Valley.' DATE: 1870s DESCRIPTION : (LenahValley)

Charles Darwin on Tasmanian Ferns

Photograph of Charles Darwin by Maull and Polyblank

Photograph of Charles Darwin by Maull and Polyblank for the Literary and Scientific Portrait Club (1855)
Source: The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online via Wikipedia

In this extract from his journal, Charles Darwin expressed amazement at the Tasmanian ferns he encountered on his walk around Mount Wellington:

From Chapter XIX:
Extract from Charles Darwin's account of his visit to Hobart, February 1836 aboard the Beagle.
Journal of researches into the geology and natural history of the various countries visited by H.M.S. Beagle. (London : H. Colburn, 1839.)
"The Beagle stayed here ten days, and in this time I made several pleasant little excursions, chiefly with the object of examining the geological structure of the immediate neighbourhood.

The main points of interest consist, first in some highly fossiliferous strata, belonging to the Devonian or Carboniferous period; secondly, in proofs of a late small rise of the land; and lastly, in a solitary and superficial patch of yellowish limestone or travertin, which contains numerous impressions of leaves of trees, together with land-shells, not now existing. It is not improbable that this one small quarry includes the only remaining record of the vegetation of Van Diemen's Land during one former epoch.

The climate here is damper than in New South Wales, and hence the land is more fertile. Agriculture flourishes; the cultivated fields look well, and the gardens abound with thriving vegetables and fruit-trees. Some of the farmhouses, situated in retired spots, had a very attractive appearance. The general aspect of the vegetation is similar to that of Australia; perhaps it is a little more green and cheerful; and the pasture between the trees rather more abundant.

One day I took a long walk on the side of the bay opposite to the town: I crossed in a steamboat, two of which are constantly plying backwards and forwards. The machinery of one of these vessels was entirely manufactured in this colony, which, from its very foundation, then numbered only three and thirty years! Another day I ascended Mount Wellington; I took with me a guide, for I failed in a first attempt, from the thickness of the wood. Our guide, however, was a stupid fellow, and conducted us to the southern and damp side of the mountain, where the vegetation was very luxuriant; and where the labour of the ascent, from the number of rotten trunks, was almost as great as on a mountain in Tierra del Fuego or in Chiloe. It cost us five and a half hours of hard climbing before we reached the summit. In many parts the Eucalypti grew to a great size, and composed a noble forest.

In some of the dampest ravines, tree- ferns flourished in an extraordinary manner; I saw one which must have been at least twenty feet high to the base of the fronds, and was in girth exactly six feet. The fronds forming the most elegant parasols, produced a gloomy shade, like that of the first hour of the night.

The summit of the mountain is broad and flat, and is composed of huge angular masses of naked greenstone. Its elevation is 3100 feet above the level of the sea. The day was splendidly clear, and we enjoyed a most extensive view; to the north, the country appeared a mass of wooded mountains, of about the same height with that on which we were standing, and with an equally tame outline: to the south the broken land and water, forming many intricate bays, was mapped with clearness before us. After staying some hours on the summit, we found a better way to descend, but did not reach the Beagle till eight o'clock, after a severe day's work. (Feb. 6, 1836: pp 486-7) "
[end of extract]

Darwin's astonishment at the magnificence of these ferns was repeated by Tasmanian photographers right through to the 1900s in endless variations. Ferns laden with snow was a particularly popular image. The State Library of Tasmania holds hundreds of photos taken by Clifford, Anson, Cawston, Abbott, Allport, Haigh, Winter, Baily and every other photographer between 1860-1880.

RELATED ARTICLES main weblog

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Samuel Clifford, Thomas Nevin and two cameras

UPDATE 3 July 2012 and 9 March 2013



The DOUGLAS STEWART FINE BOOKS catalogue listing for the stereograph, On Brown's River mentions this article in the following comment:

TASMANIA] On Brown’s River: Samuel Clifford’s camera

CLIFFORD, Samuel (1827-1890)

# 564
Stereoscopic albumen print photograph, early 1860s. Each image 80 x 80 mm. Printed label verso: Views in Tasmania. Bush Scenery. S. Clifford, Photographer, Hobart Town. Inscribed in ink in period hand verso: On Brown’s River. Samuel Clifford’s camera can clearly be seen to the right of the waterfall.
As [this bloghas pointed out ( http://thomasnevin.wordpress.com/2012/05/06/samuel-clifford-thomas-nevin-and-two-cameras/  ) this image should possibly have a double attribution, as Thomas Nevin is known to have accompanied Clifford on photographic excursions and perhaps it was Nevin who photographed Clifford's camera. However, this begs the question: if Nevin (or another photographer) photographed Clifford's camera, why did he not also photograph Clifford standing next to it?

In response, [this blog]'s thoughts on the DSFB's question:
The title "On Brown's River" verso foregrounds the locale, not people, so the bush itself was the intended subject of the image for the prospective viewer (if Clifford had written the title, that is, which he may not have done), and the camera - there were TWO - being the meta information for the viewer about the means of making the image.I note that you have decided the camera was Clifford's but where is the evidence? e.g. you say "Samuel Clifford’s camera can clearly be seen to the right of the waterfall." Where is that information written? I've gone along with this assumption (in the Nevin article) , but I'm clearly not convinced. I maintain that the representation of the photographer(s) in person or their representation by means of their possessions and skills (synecdoche) was not the primary motivation in capturing the scene, hence the absence of Clifford himself from the image, and the absence of any mention of the camera in the title on verso.

This photographer with a camera on Mt Wellington is thought to be Samuel Clifford. This image was scanned from Dan Sprod's book of Victorian and Edwardian Photographs of Hobart; Sprod suggests the photographer pictured was Clifford, so who took the photograph? Again, it was probably Nevin.


The ARTICLE below refers to the stereograph referenced in the comment above.

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.

Samuel Clifford stereo of camera

Below: Catalogue detail of image

Samuel Clifford stereo of camera

CATALOGUE ENTRY
25. CLIFFORD, Samuel (1827-1890). On Brown’s River: Mr.
Clifford’s camera. Stereoscopic albumen print photograph,
early 1860s. Each image 80 x 80 mm. Printed label verso: Views
in Tasmania. Bush Scenery. S. Clifford, Photographer, Hobart
Town. Inscribed in ink in period hand verso: On Brown’s River.
Samuel Clifford’s camera can clearly be seen to the right of the
waterfall.


Douglas Stewart FB Book Fair Hobart 2011

From the catalogue 
DOUGLAS STEWART FINE BOOKS LTD
HOBART BOOK FAIR
February 12 - 13, 2011

POLICE NOTICE: CLIFFORD'S STOLEN CAMERA
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.

Sam Clifford's stolen camera 1878

Notice in the police gazette of 15th November, 1878:
Samuel Clifford's camera stolen from the Wilmot Arms at Green Ponds.

For example, this album bears Samuel Clifford's name, and it was no doubt compiled by Walch's printers and booksellers who sold it to the May family (name inscribed on inside cover) but several photographs in the album are prints from Nevin's original stereographs, eg. this one held at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery with his stamp.


T. Nevin stereo TMAG

TMAG Catalogue notes (online until 2006)
Ref: Q1994.56.21
ITEM NAME: Photograph:
MEDIUM: sepia stereoscope salt paper print ,
MAKER: T Nevin [Artist];
DATE: 1870s
DESCRIPTION : Scene near New Norfolk ?
INSCRIPTIONS & MARKS: Impressed on front: T Nevin/ photo


Tasmanian Scenes Clifford and Nevin

Tasmanian Scenes Clifford and Nevin photo KLW NFC 201

Album: Tasmanian Scenes, S. Clifford Photographer
Held at the Tasmanian Archives and Heritage Office (TAHO)
Photos © KLW NFC 2012 ARR

View more of the Tasmanian Scenes album at Picasa:

Tasmanian Scenes S. Sclifford

Only months prior to the theft of his camera, Samuel Clifford had offered his stock etc for auction, per this notice in The Mercury, 4 March1878:

Samuel Clifford auction March 1878

THE BOTHWELL EXCURSION 1874
The second item at the DSFB Book Fair, a stereograph attributed to Clifford of Bothwell school children may also have been taken by Nevin with Clifford in the final week of September 1874, when they were passing through Bothwell, 45 miles north of Hobart. They were enjoined to photograph the procession of Templars attending a large meeting. The newspaper, The Mercury, reported their arrival in the town in a long account of the meeting, published on 26 September, 1874:


Samuel Clifford and Thomas Nevin in Bothwell 1874

Samuel Clifford and Thomas Nevin in Bothwell
The Mercury 26 Sept 1874

TRANSCRIPT
The members of the Order, according to their respective lodges then formed in procession outside the building, where a capital photograph was taken by Messrs Clifford and Nevin, photographers of Hobart Town, who were located in the township on a travelling tour. The township was then paraded, the band striking up some lively airs, but a smart shower coming down, the procession was speedily dispersed in every directions in quest of shelter.

Bothwell school children attrib. S. Clifford


FAMILY PORTRAITS ALBUMS
The third item for sale at the Douglas Stewart Hobart Book Fair was a pair of albums containing photographs by Thomas J. Nevin, apparently bearing his most common studio stamp verso which included the wording "Late A. Bock" to indicate his succession to Alfred Bock's business and studio at The City Photographic Establishment from 1867 until early 1876. According to notes and information supplied by DSFB, the albums contained -

"140 + family portrait photographs in carte de visite
and cabinet card formats. Identified sitters include William
Barnett of Clifton House, New Norfolk, Tasmania, 1864 /
Anna Barnett, Clifton House, New Norfolk, 2nd daughter of
Thomas & Elizabeth Judd, Franklin, River Huon, 1864; Mr
W.H. Thomas, Agnes Rivulet, Port Cygnet (early 1860s), and
John Hay of Southport."

- and both albums were sold to Huon Valley descendants. Did you buy these albums,or do you know who the lucky buyers were? Scans of the Nevin photographs would be appreciated enormously. Please contact here.

 DSFB catalogue Tas family albums 2011





RELATED ARTICLES main weblog

George Willis Tasmanian police records 1872-1880

Prisoner mugshot of George Willis by T.J. Nevin 1873

Courtesy National Library of Australia
George Willis, transported to VDL (Tasmania) on the Neptune 2
Photographed by T. J. Nevin for the Municipal Police Office and Hobart Gaol 1873-4.

George Willis, aged 48 yrs, and originally transported in 1838, was convicted in the Supreme Court at Hobart on 10th September 1872, sentenced to six years for larceny, sent to the Port Arthur prison, and then relocated to the Hobart Gaol in October 1873 where he was photographed by T.J. Nevin on incarceration. George Willis aka Metcalfe was among the 109 prisoners returned to Hobart from the Port Arthur prison at the request of the Parliament, all of whom were photographed by Thomas J. Nevin from October 1873 through to 1874, and subsequently at the Municipal Police Office, Hobart Town Hall, on the numerous occasions of these recalcitrant prisoners' further arrests, convictions, and discharges.


Port Arthur and Hobart Gaol prisoners stats 1873

In 1873, 156 prisoners were removed from the Port Arthur prison to the central city Hobart Gaol, a process begun in 1868, and completed in 1878, the year of the official closure of Port Arthur. 
Source: PP 48/1878 Archives Office of Tasmania


POLICE RECORDS 1872-1880

Sourced from the Tasmanian Police Gazettes, published by the Government Printer as Tasmania Reports of Crime 1872-1880.

George Willis's major repeat offence was larceny, with shorter sentences for absconding, being on premises unlawfully, and being idle and disorderly.

George Willis police records 1872-1880

George Willis police records 1872-1880

Willis convicted at the Supreme Court Hobart on 3 August 1872
George Willis police records 1872-1880

Willis discharged on 5 September 1876

George Willis police records 1872-1880

Willis discharged on 8 April 1877
George Willis police records 1872-1880

Willis convicted on 5 May 1877


George Willis police records 1872-1880

Willis arrested on 18 December 1878

View all police records for George Willis (aka Metcalfe) in this album:

George Willis police records1872-1880


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