Friday, September 7, 2007

Jack Nevin at the Hobart Gaol 1860s

The boy in this stereograph (figure on viewer's left) is Jack Nevin, later Constable John Nevin, younger brother of commercial and police photographer Thomas J. Nevin. Jack is pictured standing next to a prison official who was probably Mr T.P. Ball, Superintendent of the Prisoners Barracks in 1857 at the Hobart Gaol, Campbell Street.



W.L. Crowther Library
ADRI: AUTAS001125299420


Jack Nevin's signature pose in this photograph - left hand on hip - also appears in a family group photograph taken a decade later:


[Caption]:This is a very young Jack Nevin ca. 1865, later Constable W. John Nevin in his favorite pose - left hand on hip - at the Hobart Gaol. Detail of stereo by his older brother Thomas J. Nevin (State Library of Tasmania)
Thomas nevin seated Jack Nevin top right

The Nevin Group Portrait July 1871 (detail):
Jack Nevin, top right, Thomas and Elizabeth Nevin seated
Copyright © KLW NFC Imprint Private Collection 2009


This detail of a group photo taken at the time of Thomas and Elizabeth Nevin's marriage, July 1871, together with wedding guests, shows Thomas and Elizabeth Nevin, both seated, and younger brother Jack Nevin standing with hands on hips, on viewer's extreme right



Map of the old Hobart Gaol
Copyright © KLW NFC Imprint Private Collection 2009


THE STEREOGRAPHS
These three stereographs below of the H.M. Gaol, known as the Campbell Street Gaol, Hobart Town, taken in the mid 1860s are held in the State Library of Tasmania. Colour auto-adjustment of the first one in particular - depicting Jack Nevin as a boy and a top-hatted man, possibly the Superintendent J.P. Ball in the courtyard of the gaol - has revealed the yellow mount and arch framing used by Tasmanian photographer Alfred Bock, and his junior partner Thomas J. Nevin in his stereograph series from the 1860s located at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.

Thomas Nevin’s long time friend and partner Samuel Clifford (b. 1827-d.1890) used the same paper and framing for an exhibition of 100 stereoscopic views at Melbourne’s 1866 Intercolonial Exhibition. Clifford’s association with the Gaol was long-standing: between 1851 and 1856 he was the storekeeper at the Hobart Town Prisoners’ Barracks (Kerr, 1992:164), the subject of these three views below. Clifford reprinted many of Nevin's commercial negatives after 1876 for his former private clientele.

An unusual monogram appears on the verso of the last in this series - “J.P.Ball” : this monogram appears on the verso of another stereo at the State Library of Trinity Church with this note in the catalogue:
“Monogram in ink on left side of verso, with [J.P. Ball] in pencil, probably printed by G.T. Stilwell”
The late G. T. Stilwell was the curator of the ALMFA and Special Collections Librarian but who was J.P. Ball? He may have been one of more than twenty people named Ball living in Hobart at the time.There was an established firm of solicitors called Gill & Ball in the 1870s, whose company name can be seen on the office windows - building on left - in the photograph below (not dated):



Source: University of Tasmania ePrints

The initials "J.P." probably stands for Justice of the Peace; Mr T. P. Ball was Superintendent of the Prisoners Barracks in 1857 at the Campbell Street Gaol and a Justice of the Peace. He is the likely person whose name is transcribed on verso.

CONSTABLE JOHN NEVIN
Brothers Thomas and Jack Nevin at H.M. Gaol, Hobart.
Younger brother Jack Nevin ...

Jack Nevin

Jack (W. J. or John) Nevin, ca. 1880
Photographed by his brother Thomas J. Nevin.
Copyright © KLW NFC Imprint Private Collection 2009


William John Nevin (1852-1891) was was less than six months old when he arrived in Hobart, Tasmania with his parents and siblings Thomas James, Mary Anne and Rebecca Jane on board the Fairlie, 1852. His father John Nevin worked the family's passage as a guard of the 292 adult male convicts and warden of 32 boys exiled from Parkhurst prison.

Known as John, and Jack to the family, W.J. Nevin was the younger brother of Tasmanian photographer Thomas J. Nevin, and his assistant at the Hobart Gaol, Campbell Street during his brother’s commissions as police photographer in prisons and police courts from 1872 to the mid 1880s. He helped maintain one of their photographic studios, in New Town, until the late 1880s, Jack Nevin was employed on salary at the Hobart Gaol under the supervision of the keeper Ringrose Atkins as a Constable in 1875, and served on salary at H.M. Prison, Hobart until his untimely death of typhoid fever at age 39 in 1891 when he was listed at death as the goal messenger.  He testified at an inquest in 1882.


A younger Jack Nevin standing on viewer's extreme right

This is a detail of a group photo, taken at Thomas and Elizabeth Nevin's wedding, July 1871. They are both seated, with younger brother Jack Nevin standing with hands on hips, on viewer's extreme right. The photograph was printed on thin paper and left unmounted.

Thomas nevin seated Jack Nevin top right

The Nevin Group Portrait, July 1871 (detail):
Jack Nevin, top right, Thomas Nevin seated
Copyright © KLW NFC Imprint Private Collection 2009


William John Nevin late 1870s

Jack Nevin ca 1874-6
Photographed by his brother Thomas Nevin

Copyright © KLW NFC Imprint & The Private Collection of Denis Shelverton 2006-2009 ARR.

This image was scanned from a photograph taken ca. 1874-6 which had also been printed on thin paper and left unmounted. It was pasted into the scrapbook of George Nevin (1880-1957), a son of Thomas and Elizabeth Nevin. The original carte by Thomas J. Nevin was taken at his studio The City Photographic Establishment, 140 Elizabeth Street, Hobart Town. Even such a poor image gives details of the studio decor which featured a diamond-patterned carpet, and a table with griffin-shaped legs.

Jack's brother Thomas captured him in a relaxed standing pose leaning on a book (signifier of literacy), wearing a shirt, tie, fob watch, and three piece suit with velvet collars. In the later photograph (first one above) taken ca. 1880, Jack Nevin looks very relaxed and very savvy about the process of being photographed. His gaze is direct and very keen, his clothes suitable for everyday work in a foul place such as a prison. His salaried positions were primarily in administration, with a career path and ranking similar to the Keeper's. Older brother Thomas Nevin had been a Keeper too of a public institution, at the Hobart Town Hall between 1876-1880, a special constable during the Chiniquy Riots of 1879, and assistant bailiff in the courts during the 1880s. Jack Nevin's presence at the Gaol points to a close family involvement by both Nevin brothers with prisoner documentation - visual and written.

AUTO-ADJUSTED STEREOGRAPHS
Lilac fixer was used extensively to cater to contemporary taste in the printing of photographs during the 1860s. These two versions of stereographs taken at the Hobart Gaol, also known as the Prisoners' Barracks, Campbell St., each shows the print (a) scanned for digital dsiplay by the State Library of Tasmania, and (b) auto colour-corrected to reveal the colour of the mount.





Above: scan at SLT; below: colour auto-adjusted

Title: View of the prisoners' barracks, Campbell Street
Creator(s):Unknown
Date: ca. 1860
Description: 1 stereoscopic pair of photographs : sepia toned ; 9 x 18 cm. (mount)
Notes: Descriptive inscription in ink on verso., Image size 71 x 69 mm. each.
Subjects:
Prisoners' Barracks (Hobart, Tas.) - History - 1851-1901
Prisons - Tasmania - Hobart
Hobart (Tas.) - Buildings, structures, etc. - History - 1851-1901
Format: photograph
Location: W.L. Crowther Library
ADRI: AUTAS001125299420






Above: scan at SLT; below: colour auto-adjusted

Title: Prisoners Barracks i.e. Gaol, Hobart Town
Creator(s):Unknown
Date: ca. 1865
Description: 1 stereoscopic pair of photographs : sepia toned ; 7 x 7 cm. each, on mount 9 x 18 cm.
Notes: Title inscribed in ink in centre of verso, in Sir William Crowther's hand., Date and accession number in pencil upper right corner of verso., Exact size 69 x 66 mm. each, on mount 86 x 171 mm.
Location: W.L. Crowther Library
ADRI: AUTAS001124851619






Above: scan at SLT; below: colour auto-adjusted

Title: Interior, Hobart Gaol
Creator(s):Unknown
Date: ca. 1865
Description: 1 stereoscopic pair of photographs : sepia toned ; 8 x 7 cm. each, on mount 9 x 18 cm.
Notes: On verso: title inscribed in ink in upper left, in Sir William Crowther's hand ; the no. 63, circled, in pencil in centre in unknown hand ; monogram in ink on right side, consistent with one identified as J.P. Ball in stereoscope 8/14., Date and accession number in pencil upper right corner of verso., Exact size 72 x 68 mm. each, on mount 86 x 171 mm.
Format: photograph
Location: W.L. Crowther Library
ADRI: AUTAS001124851627