Sunday, September 27, 2009

On the road with Sam Clifford and Thomas Nevin 1874


Courtesy State Library of Tasmania
Countryside surrounding Melton Mowbray showing hotel and Midland Highway
Photographer Thomas Nevin 1874
Archives Office of Tasmania Ref: ADRI: PH30-1-896

Tasmanian professional photographers Thomas J. Nevin and Samuel Clifford were close friends and business partners from the 1860s until Samuel Clifford's death in 1890. On this tour, they travelled on the main road north from Hobart to Launceston via Bothwell. In the final week of September 1874, while passing through Bothwell, 45 miles north of Hobart, they were enjoined to photograph the procession of Templars attending a large meeting. The Mercury reported their arrival in the town in a long account of the meeting, published on 26 September, 1874:

Clifford and Nevin in Bothwell 26 Sept 1874

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

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.
Thomas Nevin photographed one of these Templars around the same time. This CDV features a senior member surrounded by the usual items of Nevin's studio decor, plus his big tabletop stereoscopic viewer.

Above: Freemason with Thomas Nevin's tabletop stereo viewer ca 1874
Courtesy The Lucy Batchelor Collection

The Templar procession caught in the rain
T. Nevin stereograph, Bothwell, September 1874
State Library of Tasmania Ref: LPIC147_1_126

Purposes of the Tour
1. Advertising for Samuel Page's Coachline between Hobart, Oatlands and Launceston.
Both photographers and their boxes of photographic equipment travelled on Samuel Page's coaches on this tour. Thomas Nevin had a commercial commission to produce advertisements for Samuel Page (an example is held at the QVMAG, Launceston). Samuel Page ran a service for the Colonial Government, carrying both the Royal Mail and prisoners from rural lock-ups who were destined for the Hobart Gaol.

Sam Page's license published in the police gazette
Tasmania Reports of Crime, James Barnard Gov't Printer 1874

2. Police photographs
Thomas Nevin had police business to attend to at the Bothwell Court House which included the delivery of duplicates of his photographs of habitual offenders for men wanted on warrants and believed to be in the region. He took this photograph of the court house exterior before departure.

Bothwell Court House
Courtesy Archives Tasmania

See this article: Working with police and prisoners

3. Scenic views for commercial sale
Clifford and Nevin produced stereographs of the River Derwent at New Norfolk, the Salmon Ponds at Plenty, and general scenic landscapes along the main route.

Images courtesy State Library of Tasmania
Refs: AUTAS001124850256; AUTAS001124075771

TMAG Catalogue notes (online until 2006)
Ref: Q1994.56.7
ITEM NAME: Photograph:
MEDIUM: sepia stereoscope salt paper print ,
MAKER: T Nevin [Artist];
DATE: 1870c
DESCRIPTION : Salmon Ponds at Plenty near New Norfolk
INSCRIPTIONS & MARKS: Impressed on front: T Nevin/ photo

Read more in these posts:
4. Preparations for the Transit of Venus
Samuel Clifford had arranged a meeting with Alfred Biggs at Campbell Town who was preparing for the visit of an American expedition to photograph the Transit of Venus in December, headed by Charles Raymond . With William Valentine who had made his home The Grange available to the expedition, school master, bank officer, astronomer and inventor Alfred Biggs would assist with the construction of the brick pier for the transit instrument and the wooden hut.

Source: New York Times

This photograph of fellow Wesleyan Alfred Biggs was taken during their visit, probably by Nevin.

Courtesy Archives Tasmania
Carte of Alfred Biggs
Ref: 30-2892c

Verso inscription on several cartes held in public and private collections, possibly an example of either Nevin's or Clifford's handwriting.


On board the "City of Hobart" 31st January 1872