Saturday, December 20, 2008

Preview of 2009

New items from © KLW NFC Private Collection 2009 ARR.



Eva Morris nee Nevin (1917-2008) granddaughter of Thomas & Elizabeth Nevin.
Taken in 1938 while boarding the Zealandia to Sydney from Hobart.
Copyright © KLW NFC 2009 ARR.

The photographer and his fiancee ...

Thomas Nevin ca 1865

Self-portrait of Thomas Nevin ca. 1865 holding a stereoscope and wearing white gloves.Watermarked.
Copyright © KLW NFC 2009 ARR.



Portrait of Elizabeth Rachel Day, married Thomas Nevin in 1871.
Carte-de-visite by Nevin & Smith ca. 1865.Watermarked.
Copyright © KLW NFC 2009 ARR

Their children and the next generation ...

Axup and Nevin daughters

From left to right:
Thomas & Elizabeth Nevin's daughter Minnie (Mary) Nevin,
Thomas Nevin's sister-in-law Mary Axup nee Day,
Mary Axup's daughter Eva Baldwin nee Axup,
and Thomas and Elizabeth's Nevin's daughter May Nevin.
Taken ca. 1938.
Copyright © KLW NFC 2009 ARR.

Thomas Sonny Nevin

Thomas James "Sonny" Nevin, first born son (1874-1948) of Thomas and Elizabeth Nevin,
married Gertrude Tennyson Bates, of the Bates, Cetnar and Laughlin families, USA.
Taken in his Salvation Army uniform mid 1940s.
Copyright © KLW NFC 2009 ARR.


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Convict cartes by Thomas Nevin at the new NPG Canberra



The new National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, opened to the public on December 4, 2008.

Convict cartes by Nevin at NPG

Case captures courtesy of npg staff.
Exclusive copyright remains with © KLW NFC 2008 ARR


Currently displayed in the A and S Liangis Gallery are six identification carte-de-visite photographs of Tasmanian convicts borrowed from the National Library of Australia with the correct attribution to the commercial and police photographer Thomas J. Nevin (1842-1923) , and incorrect attribution to A. H. Boyd who was not a photographer, was not known as a photographer in his lifetime, and has no extant works surviving in any public or private collection. The A. H. Boyd misattribution derives from an error made by one photohistorian in the 1980s (Chris Long, 1995) which arose from (legally inadmissable) hearsay about cameras at Port Arthur as told in a children's fictional story by Boyd's niece E.M. Hall (typescript 1942, SLTas). This piece of children's fiction mentions neither Boyd by name nor the photographing of prisoners, and it certainly makes no mention of a darkroom at the Port Arthur prison. Boyd was little more than a corrupt accountant promoted to commandant (1871-1873) of the Port Arthur prison through nepotism: his brother-in-law was the Attorney General W. R. Giblin.

The misattribution betrays the aesthetic assumptions and art history backgrounds of its apologists: the photographs are catalogued at the NLA as "portraits" when they are in fact vernacular documents, viz. police mugshots. The art historian aesthetic has a normative expectation that these police photographs can be treated as art photography and should therefore bear the photographers' studio stamp in line with the common commercially sold cartes of the period. The absence of a studio stamp, according to this line of thinking, abjects Nevin, a commercial photographer. However, police photographs are rarely if ever accredited except when a commercial photographer was involved, as was the case with T.J. Nevin. Only one trade sample in every batch of 100 prisoner photographs was stamped while Nevin worked under tender (1871-1876) as a commercial photographer contracted to special duties at the Hobart Gaol, and once he joined the civil service (1876-1886) working for the City Corporation at the Town Hall where the central registry of prisoner photographs and records was compiled by the Municipal Police Office, no studio stamp was necessary. The photographer's studio stamp was used for registration of joint copyright with the Municipal Police Office and Customs during the years 1871-1876, and it was printed by James Barnard, the government printer, to include Nevin's details encircling the government Royal Arms insignia.

The National Library of Australia originally archived and catalogued their collection of 78 cartes [84 are now held]of Tasmanian convicts from the 1980s to May 2007 with sole attribution to Thomas Nevin based on factual evidence from the Archives Office of Tasmania, the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery exhibition of 1977, and private collections. No factual evidence of any kind exists in the official documents of the period that associates Boyd with the skills or mandate to personally photograph prisoners. No evidence has been mustered or published to support the NLA's catalogue inclusion since May 2007 for a photographer attribution to the accountant A.H. Boyd. No creditable commentator would wish to be associated with such a naive idea.

Thomas Nevin and his brother Constable John Nevin are the only photographers known to have worked on contract and in civil service in prisons from the early 1870s to mid-1880s. The majority of the 300 or so cartes now held in public collections are estrays of a much larger corpus, now lost or destroyed. They were taken at the Supreme Court and adjoining Hobart Gaol, either when the prisoner, a second or habitual offender, was sent to trial and sentenced, and BEFORE the prisoner was returned to the Port Arthur prison to serve the sentence, if that was his fate. However, from 1871, those few prisoners remaining at Port Arthur were returned to the Hobart Gaol in a steady stream, and by 1874 most of the criminal class of offender had been transferred to Hobart where Nevin photographed him if he had been sent to trial in the 1860s. The prisoner was also photographed on being received from regional lock-ups including trials at the Supreme Court Launceston  if sentenced for a period of more than three months, and photographed once more before he was released on a ticket-of-leave, or even before his execution.

The individuals most anxious to see the name of A.H. Boyd perpetuated in venues such as the new National Portrait Gallery are photohistorians like Helen Ennis, Warwick Reeder, and Isobel Crombie, who assumed Chris Long's "hypothesis" had some basis in fact and have committed it to print. And then there are the bandwagonners and brawlers, the heritage "interpreters" in the business of promoting penal tourism such as the cravenly dishonest Julia Clark at the Port Arthur Historic Site.

THE SIX PRISONER MUGSHOTS



Case captures courtesy of npg staff.
Exclusive copyright remains with © KLW NFC 2008 ARR.


The six cartes are displayed in this order. They are sourced here from the National Library of Australia with the inclusion of the incorrect NLA catalogue information below each carte.

NOTE BENE: none of these photographs was taken in 1874,  none was taken at Port Arthur, and none was taken by A.H. Boyd. All of these photographs were taken by police photographer Thomas J. Nevin at the Supreme Court and Hobart Gaol, and at the Municipal Police Office, Hobart Town Hall between 1871 and 1884. Hayes and Appleby were photographed in the early 1870s by Thomas Nevin; the photograph of Ormiston with a moustache was taken in 1876; Sutherland, Morrison and the later Ormiston minus moustache were photographed in the mid 1880s by Thomas Nevin with the assistance of his brother Constable John Nevin.

Top left:

convict William Hayes

"nla.pic-vn4416519 PIC P1029/75A LOC Album 935
William Hayes, per Asia, taken at Port Arthur, 1874 [picture]. 1874. 1 photograph on carte-de-visite mount : albumen ; 9.4 x 5.6 cm. on mount 10.5 x 6.3 cm. Part of Convict portraits, Port Arthur, 1874 [picture
]"

Top right:

convict Appleby

"nla.pic-vn4270331 PIC P1029/51 LOC Album 935
John Appleby, per Candahar, taken at Port Arthur, 1874 [picture] 1874. 1 photograph on carte-de-visite mount : albumen ; 9.4 x 5.6 cm., on mount 10.4 x 6.4 cm. Part of Convict portraits, Port Arthur, 1874 [picture]"


Centre left:

convict Sutherland

"nla.pic-vn4270311 PIC P1029/43 LOC Album 935
Sutherland, 29.5.83 [picture] 1883. 1 photograph on carte-de-visite mount : albumen ; 9.4 x 5.6 cm., on mount 10.4 x 6.4 cm. Part of Convict portraits, Port Arthur, 1874 [picture"


Centre right:

convict Morrison

"nla.pic-an24612677 PIC P1029/60 LOC Album 935
John Morrison, native, 12 months, age 19 [picture] [ca. 1884] 1 photograph on carte-de-visite mount : albumen ; 9.7 x 5.6 cm. Part of Convict portraits, Port Arthur, 1874 [picture]"


Lower left:

convict Ormiston

"nla.pic-an24612704 PIC P1029/65 LOC Album 935
George Ormiston, [per] F.C. Monqund, 3 years, 5.2.84, horse stealing and uttering [picture] 1884. 1 photograph on carte-de-visite mount : albumen ; 10.0 x 5.7 cm. Part of Convict portraits, Port Arthur, 1874 [picture]"

Lower right:

convict Ormiston

"nla.pic-vn4270377 PIC P1029/66 LOC Album 935
George Ormiston, [per] F.C. Monqund, 3 years, 5.2.84, horse stealing and uttering [picture] 1884. 1 photograph on carte-de-visite mount : albumen ; 9.4 x 5.6 cm., on mount 10.4 x 6.4 cm. Part of Convict portraits, Port Arthur, 1874 [picture] 1874."


The card caption accompanying these cartes displayed at the new National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, reads as follows:


"Convict Portraits, Port Arthur 1874

attributed to Thomas Nevin (1842-1923) and Aldolarius [sic] Boyd (1829-1891)

albumen silver carte de visite photographs on loan from Pictures Collections

National Library of Australia

William Hayes, John Appleby, Sutherland, John Morrison and George Ormiston were all prisoners during the later years of its operation when it was decided to document its inmates photographically. The photographs are the only known official convict portraits and are among the earliest examples of photography's use in prison record-keeping"

Five convicts are named on the caption card: the sixth, lower right, is also supposed to be the same man as the fifth one lower left - George Ormiston. The National Library gives totally incorrect identical personal information for both images.

The writer of this caption at the NPG recites the idea common to the late 20th century fixation that these photographs were produced to cater to public and scientific interests in eugenics, anthropometry and other late 19th century uses of images of freaks, criminals and the indigenous. Apart from this misconception, the card contains several factual inaccuracies:

1. None of these prisoners was ever sent BACK to Port Arthur, and none was there in 1874. The dates on the versos of some of these cartes are 1883 and 1884, yet Port Arthur was well and truly closed by 1877. Some are photographs of young "native" or locally-born who had not offended prior to incarceration. The assumption that these photographs were taken at Port Arthur in 1874 derives from an archivist's inscription - "Taken at Port Arthur, 1874" - on the verso of dozens of these cartes due largely to John Watt Beattie's commercial imperative to sell them as tourist tokens once he salvaged them from the Sheriff's Office at the Hobart Gaol ca. 1915. Some are also his reprints dating from 1910s of Nevin's glass negatives. All of these prisoner photographs were taken at the Supreme Court and Hobart Gaol by the Nevin brothers from 1871 to the late1880s.

2. Newspaper accounts and parliamentary proceedings of the day clearly state why the prisoners were photographed, when, where and by whom. The practice of making several duplicates of a prisoner's photograph was established in accordance with penal and police reforms adopted in NSW and Victoria by 1873 to ensure that the regional police authorities also had a record while the prisoner was on release with a ticket-of-leave work permit.

3. The 83 cartes held at the NLA are not the only extant cartes of their type taken by Thomas Nevin.  More than 300 originals and copies survive in public and private collections, e.g. the Archives Office of Tasmania, the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, the State Library of Tasmania, the Penitentiary Chapel Historic Site, and the Mitchell Library, NSW, and several bear Nevin's Royal Arms stamp. Included amongst these examples held at the NLA are government archival estrays from the Gunson Collection, donated in the 1960s.The majority held in all public collections, with the exception of the eleven prisoner cartes at the Mitchell Library NSW, were extensively copied from the QVMAG collection in 1958, 1977, 1982, 1985 and 1987, and circulated to other State and national collections

4. Frazer Crawford in South Australia, and Charles Nettleton in Victoria, took photographs of prisoners earlier than 1870. Tasmania followed in the early 1870s.

See these RELATED POSTS:

For more information on the convict Sutherland (centre left), who was executed in 1883:
For more information of the convict John Appleby (top right) per the Candahar 1842 who was one of the first to be photographed by Nevin at the Supreme Court Hobart July sitting, 1871, see below.

convict Appleby per Candahar 1842

For original documentation of this convict's offenses, see the digitised record of the Candahar 1842 lists of transportees at the Archives Office of Tasmania: Appleby's record is shown below. For police records of his criminal career dating from 1871, see the record below and the police gazettes.

AOT record for Candahar 1842




Source: Tasmania Reports of Crime Information for Police 1871-1875,
James Barnard Gov't Printer


John Appleby was tried in the Supreme Court Hobart on 4th July, 1871 for receiving stolen plate, and sentenced to six years' imprisonment at the Hobart Gaol. In 1841 he was a 15 year old sentenced for burglary, arriving in Hobart in 1842. In 1871 he would have been 45 years old when he was photographed for the first time by Thomas Nevin in 1871 on sentencing at the Supreme Court and the Hobart Gaol, and photographed again on discharge, March 4, 1875 for future police reference. This photograph is held at the NLA, numbered "84" on verso by a copyist.

For more information on the Boyd misattribution:
See the site maps for more entries:

Site Map No. 1: Nevin Family

See also: Key Chronology 1842-1923

Site Map No 2: Professional Work

And this website: Prisoner Pictures

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Babette Smith on Australia's Birthstain





pp304-5 Click on images for readable version

These two prisoners were not incarcerated at Port Arthur in 1874 when they were photographed. They were both discharged from the Hobart Gaol on the same day, January 7th, 1874 and were photographed by Thomas J. Nevin during the preceding fortnight up to that date.

Fleming and Baker discharge 7Jan 1874

Discharge of Fleming and Baker, January 7th, 1874

Fleming was arrested several times over the next twelve months for theft, larceny, escape and absconding:



Fleming convicted July 1874




Fleming absconded on August 4th, 1874, etc etc etc

Source:
Tasmania Reports of Crime Information for Police 1871-1875

The source of these two identification cartes included in Babette Smith's book on the legacy of the convict era is the Archives Office of Tasmania.

from page 41

page 42

However, Babette Smith's caption for these two photographs - "... at Port Arthur, ca. 1874" is misleading. She omits the Tasmanian State Archives' online catalogue wording "Taken at Port Arthur by Thomas Nevin 1874".

The sources of the Archives Office information, photograph originals and copies were -

1. the materials donated from the Port Arthur kiosk (see extract above for details),
2. the collections of photographs taken by Nevin donated by the Allport Law firm as the Pretyman Collection,
3. the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, where many more prisoner cartes were located amongst the Beattie Collection's convict memorabilia, and exhibited there in 1977.

Most of the AOT's convict carte collection by Thomas Nevin is now also catalogued at the State Library of Tasmania, indicating provenance from the Pretyman Collection dating from the 1900-1930s. See also Miscellaneous Collection of Photographs - 1900 - 1920 (PH30)

An original carte by Nevin ca 1874 of the Attorney-General W.R. Giblin who commissioned Nevin as prisons photographer was also originally an item in the Pretyman Collection at the AOT.





W.R. Giblin - AOT Ref: NS1013-1971c
Taken by Thomas Nevin ca 1872-1874

See also the Archives Office of Tasmania digitised records of the original registers of convict names for each ship.

Convict records AOTConvict records AOT

AOT REF: CON14-1-14_00001_L

RELATED POSTS

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Medical Officer's report of the Fairlie passengers 1852



The barque Fairlie arrived in Hobart on July 3, 1852. On board were 292 male convicts, 30 pensioner guards with their families - 24 women and 47 children. In charge of the convict guard was Ensign Meagher for the 99th Regiment. Surgeon Edwarth Nolloth RN voyaged in the Cabin as did the religious instructor John B. Seaman and his wife.



Religious instructor John B. Seaman
Source: Report to the House of Commons: Vol 54

The Fairlie, which was built in Calcutta, weighed 775 tons and carried two guns, had left Plymouth on March 11, 1852 with 45 crew. Cargo listed included 1 bag of despatches, 2 ropes, 8 leather bags, 1 ship bag and 1 small paper parcel. When the ship sailed into the Derwent at Hobart and the pilot Mr Hurburgh boarded at 4pm, he reported the weather was fine, winds light, and the ship's draught was 18 feet.

The Port Officer's Form carried the REMARKS:
2 Deaths Convicts - 1 Birth - Female
And this note:
"The Pest Bomangee" was to leave [?] in about 3 weeks after this vessel sailed
"The Sylph". Sailed from Plymouth three days before.



Source: State Library of Tasmania
Series Number MB2/39
Title:REPORTS OF SHIPS' ARRIVALS WITH LISTS OF PASSENGERS
Start Date 24 Mar 1828
End Date 31 Dec 1970

Nevin family members on the Sick Lists
Thomas James Nevin's father, John Nevin snr, born in 1808 at Grey Abbey, County Down, Ireland, with service in the West Indies (1825-1838) and Canada (1839-42), was one of 30 Chelsea pensioners and guards travelling with the 99th Regiment on board the Fairlie when it left Plymouth on March 11th, 1852, bound for Hobart Tasmania with 294 convicts. Thomas' mother Mary Nevin was one of 24 women on board, and Thomas himself, together with his three younger siblings, Mary Ann, Rebecca Jane and William John were numbered among the 47 children. Among the convicts were 32 boys from the Parkhurst prison who had embarked on the Isle of Wight.



Reference: ADM 101/27/2
Medical journal of convict ship Fairlie .
Admiralty and predecessors: Office of the Director General of the Medical Department of the Navy and predecessors: Medical Journals Convict Ships etc. Date: 1852. Source: The Catalogue of The National Archives [UK]

Folio 2: John Nevin, aged 43, Private of pensioners; sick or hurt, diarrhoea; put on sick list 28 February 1852, discharged 2 March 1852 to duty. Folio 2: Mary Nevin, aged 40, Wife of pensioners;

Folio 2: Mary Nevin, aged 40, Wife of pensioners; sick or hurt, diarrhoea; put on sick list 14 March 1852, discharged 25 March 1852 to duty.

Folio 4: Mary Nevin, aged 5, Child of Guard; sick or hurt, diarrhoea; put on sick list 23 April 1852, discharged 30 April 1852 to duty. Folio 4: Mary Nevin, aged 40, Wife of Guard; sick or hurt, diarrhoea; put on sick list 24 April 1852, discharged 14 May 1852 to duty.

Folio 5: William Nevin, aged 6 months, Child of Guard; sick or hurt, convulsio; put on sick list 2 June 1852, discharged 9 June 1852 to duty.

The Principal Medical Officer, Dr Edward Nollett (also spelt as Nolleth) reported no serious medical incidents had occurred during the voyage. Yet one child was still-born, vaccinations were attempted (unspecified types), and two prisoners were found to be nearly blind on disembarkation.

Four Nevin family members were placed on the sick list during the voyage: John Nevin (father), Mary Anne, aged five, her mother Mary Ann (wife) , and her six month old baby William. See this entry for the original documentation of the sick lists (National Archives, London), including several photographic portraits taken by Thomas Nevin in the 1870s of his parents, his siblings, and some of the convicts (one former pensioner) who travelled with the Nevin family on the Fairlie which arrived at Hobart 3 July 1852.

CORRESPONDENCE re Mr NOLLETT
Source: House of Commons papers, Volume 54 (Google books)



Enclosure in No 10 Encl in No 10
Principal Medical Officer's Office July 5 1852


SIR
I HAVE the honour to report my inspection of the "Fairlie" male prison ship, surgeon superintendent, Dr Edward Nollett. The ship left Plymouth on the 11th March with 294 prisoners, under a guard of 30 out- pensioners, with 24 women and 47 children. They were generally healthy, the more prevalent complaints being diarrhoea and pulmonic affections. Two prisoners died, one from disease of the heart the second from pleurisy There were also two births, one still born. I observed two prisoners who (I am informed) were embarked nearly blind They are fit cases for an invalid depot, and I have directed their removal to the General Hospital, together with four other men who are in delicate health and unfit at present for labour. Vaccination was attempted but without success. The berths, decks, and utensils were clean, and in good order. I have etc The Comptroller General (Signed) A. SHANKS &c & &c Deputy Inspector General PMO
Report of August 11, 1853:
Source:  Parliamentary Papers By Great Britain Parliament. House of Common papers Vol 54

Comment by the Surgeon Superintendent of the "Fairlie" Edward Nolloth after a visit to the Cascades Female Factory.


August 11
THREE years since I visited this establishment, and was much pleased with it, and extensive additions and improvements have rendered it more worthy of admiration. Signed EDWARD NOLLOTH [sic] MD Surgeon Superintendent "Fairlie"

RELATED POSTS main weblog

    Sunday, October 5, 2008

    Site Map No.1: Nevin Family



    Thomas Nevin's portrait of his sister Mary Anne Nevin ca 1872



    Thomas Nevin's portraits of his parents Mary (nee Dickson) and John Nevin ca 1872



    Portraits by Thomas Nevin of his brother Jack (William John) ca 1880
    From the © KLW NFC Imprint Private Collection

    Thomas Nevin was known by a number of variations of his name, and several of these are now used in public catalogues and holdings. His signature on official documents and name on his studio stamps include: Thomas Nevin, Thomas Nevin Senior, Thomas J. Nevin, Thos Nevin, T. Nevin, T. Nevin late A. Bock, T. J. Nevin, Nevin & Smith, and Clifford & Nevin.

    Browse the complete archive by date here

    Thomas Nevin’s Own Family Portraits

    Ω Navigation

    Site Map No. 1: Nevin Family
    Site Map No 2: Professional Work

    Thomas Nevin's portraits of self, wife, brother and sister 1860s-1880





    Saturday, October 4, 2008

    Site Map No.2: Professional Work



    Biographers Professor Joan Kerr and G. T. Stilwell (1992)



    Curator John McPhee (ABC TV 2009) of Nevin exhibition 1977




    Thomas Nevin was known by a number of variations of his name, and several of these are now used in public catalogues and holdings. His signature on official documents and name on his studio stamps include: Thomas Nevin, Thomas Nevin Senior, Thomas J. Nevin, Thos Nevin, T. Nevin, T. Nevin late A. Bock, T. J. Nevin, Nevin & Smith, and Clifford & Nevin.



    See also this separate site: Prisoner Pictures by T. J. Nevin

    And browse the complete archive by date

    Career Biographica
    Stereographs
    Prison photographer, Port Arthur and Hobart Gaol
    Exhibitions and Publications
    Private Collections
    • Nevin Family and Denis Shelverton collections: see the site map: Nevin Family
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