Friday, June 1, 2012

A highly coloured portrait

Unidentified woman, seated with sewing
A highly colored carte-de-visite ca. 1872
Taken by T.Nevin late A.Bock, 140 Elizabeth St., Hobart Town
Held at the Archives Office of Tasmania TAHO Ref: PH31/439
Photo © KLW NFC Imprint 2012 ARR

This carte-de-visite is typical of Thomas J. Nevin's ever day photographic activity in his city studio as a commercial portraitist. Although undated, he may have taken it in late 1871 soon after his marriage to Elizabeth Rachel Day and up until the birth of his first child in 1872, since it may have been his wife who worked with him, printing and colouring studio portraits in the small residence, shop, and glass house at 138-140 Elizabeth St. Hobart Town (Tasmania).

Elizabeth Rachel Nevin photo by T. Nevin 1871

Cdv of Elizabeth Rachel Nevin nee Day ca. 1871 taken by her husband Thomas J. Nevin.
Her hair ribbons, earrings and brooch exhibit delicate tinting.
Photo © KLW NFC 2012 and The Nevin Family Collections.

In contrast to this portrait of Nevin's wife, the extensively coloured portrait featured of the woman with sewing, which is similar in colouring and execution to several others held in both public and private collections (NLA; TMAG; QVMAG; John McCullagh Collection; Lucy Batchelor Album; G.T. Harrisson Collection; Nevin Family Collections), may have as provenance the same northern Tasmanian family who coloured their family portraits after purchase (see below).

DECOR: the shiny low chair, the table with griffin-shaped legs, tinted flowers and hair ribbons, the draped curtain, the diamond-patterned carpet, and the backdrop of a patterned patio looking out from an Italianate terrace to a vista of a meandering river, characterise this phase or aspect of Nevin's commercial practice. However, his photographic techniques varied widely between 1868 and 1880, from salt paper stereographs of ferns and landscapes, cabinet portraiture, and of course, the police mugshots - aka the "Port Arthur convicts portraits 1874" (QVMAG; NLA; SLNSW etc) for which he is mostly renowned today.

MORE COLOURED CARTES by NEVIN from this period


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