Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Harrisson Collection: three studio stamps

Private collector and professional photographer Geoff Harrisson kindly forwarded these six scans of studio portraits by Thomas J . Nevin, each bearing verso a different inscription or stamp.





Scans © The Private Collection of C. G. Harrisson 2006. ARR.

These are three examples of the seven studio stamps and inscriptions used by Thomas Nevin between ca. 1867 and 1876. Other examples can be found on the mounts and versos of stereographs and cartes held at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, the State Library of NSW, the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, the State Library of Victoria, and the National Library New Zealand, in addition to private collections.

"Clifford & Nevin, Hobart Town" is a hand-written inscription that appears on several studio portraits in private and public collections. More examples are held at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery and in the private collection of John McCullagh. Thomas Nevin and Samuel Clifford were close friends and business partners from the 1860s until Samuel Clifford's death in 1890. The Mercury reported on their tour around Tasmania and arrival in the town of Bothwell in a long account of a Templars meeting, published on 26 September, 1874. They printed each other's stereographs in the 1860s. Clifford acquired Nevin's commercial negatives in 1876.

"T. J. Nevin, Photographic Artist, 140 Elizabeth Street, Hobart Town" includes the middle initial "J" (James) and the Royal Arms insignia of lion and unicorn rampant used by the Police Office, the Prisons Department and Supreme Court of the Tasmanian Government. The stamp was designed by the government printer James Barnard for use on the versos of Nevin's nominal trade samples of prisoner identification photographs submitted for tender under contract as prisons and police photographer while still operating as a commercial photographer, dating from early 1873 to 1876. Once Nevin joined the Municipal Police Office and City Corporation at the Hobart Town Hall as a full time civil servant, the use of this stamp was unnecessary.

"T. Nevin, late A. Bock, City Photographic Establishment, 140 Elizabeth Street, Hobart Town" is a variation and elaboration of Alfred Bock's stamp whose studio and stock Nevin acquired in 1867. It also appears on studio portraits taken between 1868 and 1876.



Seated woman at the distinctive studio table, with tinted flowers
Verso stamped "T.Nevin late A. Bock"



Seated man with boater, possibly taken on Regatta Day.
Verso stamped with the official Royal Arms insignia and "T. J. Nevin Photographic Artist"



Teenage girl standing, holding a green and red tinted sprig (of holly), possibly taken at Christmas.
Verso inscribed "Clifford  & Nevin, Hobart Town"

Many thanks to Geoff Harrisson
© The Private Collection of C. G. Harrisson 2006. ARR.