Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Second Thoughts: one session, two poses at the City Photographic Establishment

CITY PHOTOGRAPHIC ESTABLISHMENT 140 Elizabeth St. Hobart Town
PHOTOGRAPHERS Alfred BOCK and Thomas J. NEVIN
TWO POSES at same sitting of WOMEN CLIENTS 1860s-1870s

Alfred Bock ca. 1865-1867
These two photographs of an unidentified woman who posed for photographer Alfred Bock ca. 1865-1867 in his Hobart studio were taken minutes apart. The provenance of the top cdv where the woman is gazing directly at the camera/photographer, was local: it was purchased for  KLW NFC Imprint Private Collection on eBay in 2017 from a seller located in South Australia. The provenance of the second cdv in which the woman's gaze is directed 15 degrees to the viewer's left, was the United Kingdom, according to Douglas Stewart Fine Books (Melbourne) who catalogued it for sale in July 2017. Here, on this webpage, exactly 150 years after these two photographs were taken in Bock's glass house at 140 Elizabeth Street, Hobart, and probably printed within the hour on the same day, they are reunited in the hope they may excite recognition from a descendant who can provide this striking woman with a name and an account of her travels.



Detail of full-length carte-de-visite of an unidentified woman ca. 1865, her gaze direct to camera
Photographer: Alfred Bock, City Photographic Establishment 140 Elizabeth St. Hobart Town
Copyright © KLW NFC Private Collection 2016



[Above]: Full-length carte-de-visite of an unidentified woman ca. 1865
Photographer: Alfred Bock, City Photographic Establishment 140 Elizabeth St. Hobart Town
Copyright © KLW NFC Private Collection 2016
Provenance: purchased from eBay 5 August 2016

[Below]: Detail of the cdv of the same "wealthy lady wearing a fine taffeta dress", taken within minutes of each other, her gaze averted to the viewer's left.
Sourced with permission from Douglas Stewart Fine Books July 2017 Catalogue





Sourced with permission from Douglas Stewart Fine Books July 2017 Catalogue
Albumen print photograph, carte de visite format, 103 x 63 mm, verso of mount with imprint in blue ink of Alfred Bock, City Photographic Establishment, 140 Elizabeth St. Hobart Town; both the albumen print and mount are in fine condition.
A superb studio portrait of a wealthy lady wearing a fine taffeta dress. In her left hand she holds what appears to be a carte de visite album; her other hand rests on a neo-classical column. The painted backdrop, depicting an open landscape, is framed by a wrought iron arch.
Alfred Bock, son of the convict engraver and pioneer photographer Thomas Bock, was active at his 140 Elizabeth Street premises between 1858 and 1867.

Alfred Bock's Studio Decor early 1860s
This unidentified gentleman was photographed by Alfred Bock at the City Photographic Establishment not much later than 1860. The decorative arch, the painted backdrop featuring a tree and the waist-high lattice fence were already key items of studio decor which were still in place for the later two portraits of the woman in a taffeta dress (above). The item of furniture provided for her to rest her right hand was a solid pedestal supporting a very large urn, whereas a low easy chair was provided for this gentleman to casually rest his right hand and lower arm. The photographer's stamp on the verso of this cdv was one of Bock's earliest, designed soon after taking the lease on the premises at 140 Elizabeth Street, Hobart in 1858. It predates his later one also featuring a kangaroo which Thomas Nevin used, modified only slightly to include his own name and Bock's with the wording "T. Nevin late A. Bock." See these examples of both photographers' designs here.



CITATION
Untitled 1859-1867
Artist Alfred K Bock
Australia 1835 - 1920
Art Gallery of NSW 2015
The Photograph and Australia Exhibition
https://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/collection/works/270.2014/

Alfred Bock is distinguished as the first known Australian-born photographer. Bock was born in Hobart Town in 1835 to Mary Ann Cameron, née Spencer, who lived with, and eventually married, Thomas Bock. Alfred was given Thomas’s surname and regarded him as his natural father. Thomas Bock taught Alfred painting, drawing and photography, and he assisted his stepfather in his daguerreotype business until establishing his own studio in 1855. Despite ongoing financial difficulties (he was announced insolvent in 1857 and again in 1865) Bock succeeded in introducing the carte de visite to Hobart in 1861 and became expert in the sennotype process. In addition to his experimentation with photomechanical techniques, he also hand-coloured portraits and experimented with over-painting photographs. Bock showed his work at the London International Exhibition (1873), the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition (1876), the Sandhurst (Bendigo) Industrial Exhibition (1879), the Adelaide International Exhibition (1887) and the Paris International Exhibition (1889) and received several awards.

A carte de visite is a stiff card of about 10 x 6.4 cm, with an attached paper photograph, invented in 1854 by André-Adolphe-Eugène Disderi. They were introduced into Australia in 1859 by William Blackwood with albums arriving in 1860, aiding the collection and distribution of multiple cartes. Cartes were usually portraits and were made by the millions worldwide. Multi-lens, or ‘multiplying’ cameras were introduced in the 1860s, which were capable of producing from 2 to 32 images in quick succession, dramatically increasing the number of cartes de visite that could be made from a single photographic plate. They were easily reproduced by making paper contact prints from the glass plates, which were then cut and pasted to card.

EXHIBITION HISTORY
The photograph and Australia:
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney 21 Mar 2015–08 Jun 2015
Queensland Art Gallery, South Brisbane 04 Jul 2015–11 Oct 2015

BIBLIOGRAPHY
Judy Annear, The photograph and Australia, Sydney, Jun 2015, 248 (colour illus.).

Thomas J. Nevin ca. 1870
Two portraits of this unidentified woman taken by Thomas J. Nevin have also survived from a session at the City Photographic Establishment. Their provenance is unknown  as is their date of acquisition by the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.  These two examples were reprinted from Nevin's negatives by his friend and colleague Samuel Clifford between 1876 and 1878 at the request of the client. The original cdvs by Nevin would have carried his studio stamp on verso.

Both versos carry the handwritten inscription in Samuel Clifford’s orthography: “Clifford & Nevin Hobart Town”. The original was taken by Thomas Nevin before 1876, and reprinted by Samuel Clifford up until the date of his (Clifford's) retirement in 1878, as promised in this advertisement in the Mercury, 17th January 1876:

Mr T. J. Nevin’s friends may depend that I will endeavour to satisfy them with any prints they may require from his negatives.
S. CLIFFORD
Samuel Clifford's offer to reprint Thomas Nevin's commercial negatives of private clientele after 1876 was due to Thomas Nevin's appointment to full-time civil service and residency at the Hobart Town Hall (1876-1880) which precluded remuneration from commercial photography. Many of the extant cdvs and prints inscribed verso with “Clifford & Nevin Hobart Town” which were reproduced from Nevin’s original negatives of private clientele, both male and female, now held in the TMAG, Hobart and QVMAG, Launceston, show signs of extensive handling - and attempts at colouring in some instances - by the families who donated them. See more examples here.



Detail of a full-length cdv of an unidentified woman in a dress with a frilled bodice, over-skirt and frilled hem, her gaze directed to the viewer's right. She is standing with left hand resting on a dining room chair. A rug covers the back of the chair and her hat rests on the seat. The capture by Nevin appears to have been premature: the woman's eyes are almost upon him, and the reprint by Clifford appears to be crooked with the floor and chair slanting down off to the left, so the second capture was composed with the woman seated on a stool, her left hand holding a thin volume, her gaze calm with eyes to the right of frame.  



Full-length cdv of an unidentified woman in a dress with a frilled bodice, over-skirt and frilled hem, her gaze directed to the viewer's right. She is standing with left hand resting on a dining room chair. A rug covers the back of the chair and her hat rests on the seat. The capture by Nevin appears to have been premature: the woman's eyes are almost upon him, and the reprint by Clifford appears to be crooked with the floor and chair slanting down off to the left, so the second capture was composed with the woman seated on a stool, her left hand holding a thin volume, her gaze calm with eyes to the right of frame. Photographed by T. Nevin before 1876, reprinted by Samuel Clifford before 1879.
Photos recto and verso copyright © KLW NFC Imprint 2014-2015
Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery Collection
TMAG Ref: Q1990.25.401



Detail of the second cdv of the same unidentified woman in a dress with flounces on the bodice, over-skirt and hem. sitting on an invisible stool, a slender volume in her left hand, her gaze directed to the viewer's right.



This is the second photograph, taken minutes after the first capture (TMAG Ref: Q1990.25.401 above).

Full length cdv on plain mount: A young woman [unidentified] with large roll of hair atop the part, holding a slender volume in her left hand, seated on an invisible stool, wearing a dress densely textured with raised flecks, a short flounce attached to the waist, and a frilled bodice. Her gaze is directed towards the viewer’s right. A white cat seems to be disappearing into the right side of frame.

The verso carries  the handwritten inscription in Samuel Clifford’s orthography: “Clifford & Nevin Hobart Town”. The original was taken by Thomas J. Nevin before 1876 at the City Photographic Studio, 140 Elizabeth St. Hobart, and reprinted by Samuel Clifford between 1876 and 1878 at the request of Nevin's clients.

Photos recto and verso copyright © KLW NFC Imprint 2014-2015
Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery Collection
TMAG Ref: Q1990.25.400


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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Prisoner William TURNER 1841-1879

T. J. NEVIN MUGSHOT of William Turner
EXHIBITIONS 1976 and 1977



Prisoner William TURNER
QVMAG Ref: QVM 1985: P: 90 or 1985_p_0090
Photographer: T. J. Nevin
Taken at the Hobart Gaol and Municipal Police Office, Hobart, 1878-9
Exhibited at the Centenary of the Art Gallery NSW, Sydney, 1976

This black and white copy of William Turner's prisoner identification mugshot was made at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery in 1985 from Thomas Nevin's original sepia print, and placed online at the QVMAG in the early 2000s. The original 1870s print of the b&w copy was exhibited at the AGNSW in 1976 (listed on page 27 in the Exhibition Catalogue). The curator chose this one (and another two photographs) possibly because the full frontal pose and the frank stare captured more of the prisoner's "personality" than the conventional pose where the sitter's sightlines were deflected either left or right, the pose typical of Nevin's commercial studio practice and evident in the more than 200 (two hundred) prisoner cdvs held in the Beattie collection at the QVMAG. In addition, this print was possibly chosen because it had escaped the rebranding on the versos with the inscription "Taken at Port Arthur 1874" for Beattie's tourism trade of the 1900s and for the 1938 QVMAG exhibition which commemorated his death and bequest to the people of Launceston. A year after the 1976 AGNSW Centenary Exhibition, in 1977, many more of these "convict portraits" by T. J. Nevin from the Beattie collection were exhibited at the QVMAG, curated by John McPhee.



Verso: Prisoner William TURNER
QVMAG Ref: QVM 1985: P: 90 or 1985_p_0090
Photographer: T. J. Nevin
Taken at the Municipal Police Office, Hobart, 1878
Exhibited at the Centenary of the Art Gallery NSW, Sydney, 1976
See the Exhibition Catalogue here in this post

Police Records
These records are sourced from the weekly police gazettes, Tasmania Reports of Crime Information for Police, J. Barnard, Gov't printer.

1859: Turner's shooting with intent to kill a Constable



Source:The Hobart Town Daily Mercury (Tas. : 1858 - 1860) Thu 3 Nov 1859 Page 2 POLICE COURT.

TRANSCRIPT
Remanded.-William Turner, Henry Townsend, and Thomas Morgan were brought up on remand, charged with feloniously shooting, at Swanton, Constable Wells, with intent to kill and murder him.
Upon the application of Mr. Sub - Inspector Weale the prisoners were further remanded until to-morrow (this day) when the evidence against them will be adduced.

1873: Turner discharged from H. M. Gaol with FP



Prisoner William Turner from Bristol. sentenced to 10 years for housebreaking and stealing was transported to VDL per the Lord Goderich, arriving on 18 November 1841 as an 18 year old. He was then sentenced at the Hobart Supreme Court on 6th December 1859 to life imprisonment for "shooting with intent etc". He was received at the Municipal Police Office, Town Hall from the Port Arthur prison and discharged in the week ending 4th June 1873, Free with Pardon (abbreviated as FP in the police gazette record above).

1878: Turner convicted of larceny from a tin mining site
William Turner may have committed further offences using aliases between his discharge in 1873 and his conviction in 1878 , as his name does not appear against any further convictions in the Tasmanian police gazettes until 1878. While working as a sawyer in the Scottsdale and Ringarooma area of northern Tasmania in 1878, Turner was convicted for the theft of a calico tent and fly from the Briseis Tin Mining Company, Cascade River.



Page 152, Tasmania Reports of Crime. 20 September 1878.
William Turner was suspected of theft of a calico tent and fly.



Above: Two notices published in the Tasmanian police gazettes issues of 6th and 20th September 1878 concerning thefts of four meershaum pipes and a calico tent and fly by William Turner.



Above: William Turner, conviction of larceny published 26 October 1878
Source: Tasmania Reports of Crime Information for Police, Gov't printer.

During the week of 26th October 1878, William Turner, sawyer, 57 years old, 5ft 8½ inches tall, and Free by Servitude (FS) was convicted of larceny and sentenced to 6 months. His prior conviction - a life sentence in 1859 for shooting with intent from which he was discharged free with a pardon in 1873 - was not recorded. On incarceration at the Hobart Gaol in October 1878 and discharge from the Mayor's Court at the Hobart Town Hall in March 1879, T. J. Nevin photographed William Turner in full frontal pose for police and prison records.

Exhibitions 1976 & 1977
An archivist in the early 1900s, using the police gazette record, inscribed on the verso "FS" below the prisoner's name, William Turner, and the ship, Lord Goderich. A more recent inscription in a different hand - (Boys Ship) referring to the Lord Goderich and the date of his arrival in VDL (18/11/1841) - was probably added for the 1976 Centenary Exhibition of the Art Gallery of NSW and/or the 1977 QVMAG Exhibition of more than seventy "convict portraits" - i.e. mugshots of Tasmanian prisoners taken in the 1870s by Thomas J. Nevin - curated by John McPhee.



Verso: Prisoner William TURNER
QVMAG Ref: QVM 1985: P: 90 or 1985_p_0090
Photographer: T. J. Nevin
Taken at the Hobart Gaol and Municipal Police Office, Hobart, 1878-9
Exhibited at the Centenary of the Art Gallery NSW, Sydney, 1976
See the Exhibition Catalogue here in this post



Page 27 of the AGNSW Catalogue: list of three photography exhibits by T. J. Nevin Nos. 116-118

TRANSCRIPT
T. J. Nevin active 1870s
Tasmanian convicts (1874)
116. William Turner, Transported Lord Goderich (Boy's ship), 1811-1841.
117. Nathan Hunt, Transported Elphinstone (Boys), 28.7.1842, Larceny
118. Thomas Harrison, Idle and disorderly.
Three photographs, carte-de-visite size 10.5 x 6.5 cm, 4½ x 2½ in, each inscribed (on back) as above, and printed T. J. Nevin, 140 Elizabeth Street, Hobart Town. From a set of over 40 convict portraits made in 1874.
Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston, Tasmania



Paragraph on T. J. Nevin and his photographs of "still-living transported convicts", p. 41 of the Exhibition Catalogue for Australian art in the 1870s : an exhibition to mark the centenary of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney by Daniel Thomas 1976.

TRANSCRIPT
T. J. NEVIN
A Hobart photographer who in 1874 made a set of over 40 photographs of still-living transported convicts. They are included as an example of the strong interest in Australian history which is characteristic of the 1870s. These small photographs are also examples of the standard "Carte-de-visite" size used for almost all portraits in the 185s and 1860s, but going out of favour after 1870 for the larger "Cabinet" size , 4½ x 6½ inches. After 1875 "Panels". 8½ x 6½ inches also became common for family groups. Carte-de-visite and Cabinets of royalty, actresses, bishops, convicts and other celebrities were widely available and were collected in albums as well as portraits of one's own family.



The QVMAG Exhibition 1977: "The work of T. J. Nevin..."
Source: the Mercury, March 3rd, 1977

TRANSCRIPT
Convict photos at Launceston
Historic photographs showing convicts at Port Arthur in 1874 will be exhibited at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery at Launceston from tomorrow to May 2.
The work of T. J. Nevin, the photos are being shown at Launceston for the first time.
Many of the men shown in the pictures had been transported to Port Arthur as young boys 40 years earlier.
The curator of fine art at the museum, Mr. John McPhee, said yesterday that the photos had "a quality far beyond that of records".
"Just once rascally, occasionally noble always pathetic, these photographs are among the most moving and powerful images of the human condition," he said.
Transportation Records for William TURNER 1841
Archives Office of Tasmania Linc
Name:Turner, William
Record Type:Convicts
Departure date:14 Jul 1841
Departure port:Portsmouth
Ship:Lord Goderich
Voyage number:183
Index number:71924
Record ID:NAME_INDEXES:1441965



Source: Archives Office of Tasmania CON33 -1-14

William Turner, sentenced to 10 years for housebreaking and stealing was transported to VDL per the Lord Goderich, arriving on 18 November 1841 as an 18 year old. This record gives more detail about further offences until 1853.

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