Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Prisoner James BRADY 1873-1874

James Brady was photographed at the Hobart Gaol by Thomas J. Nevin on two different occasions. Three extant images from those two sittings are held in three public collections, viz. the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, and the National Library of Australia. James Brady was a soldier of the 2/14 Regiment, 31 years old, when he arrived in Tasmania on board the Haversham in August 1867. He was branded with the letter “D” as a deserter and sentenced to 8 years for forgery and uttering in 1868.

Detail: print of James Brady from T. J. Nevin's negative 1874
From forty prints of 1870s Tasmania prisoners in three panels
Original prints of negatives by T. J. Nevin 1870s
Reprints by J. W. Beattie ca. 1915
QVMAG Collection: Ref : 1983_p_0163-0176

The photograph taken in 1874
The photograph (above) is an unmounted sepia print from the negative of Thomas Nevin's sitting with James Brady taken on discharge in the week ending 21st January 1874. It is held at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery.  In 1916, John Watt Beattie salvaged this unmounted print from the Hobart Gaol records for display at his "Port Arthur Museum", located in Hobart, and for inclusion in  intercolonial exhibitions of convictaria associated with the fake convict hulk, Success, in Hobart and Sydney. Beattie pasted this print on one of three panels displaying forty prisoners in total.

The print of James Brady is bottom row, second from right.
Panel 1 of forty prints of 1870s Tasmania prisoners in three panels
Original prints of negatives by T. J. Nevin 1870s
Reprints by J. W. Beattie ca. 1915
QVMAG Collection: Ref : 1983_p_0163-0176

Thomas Nevin also printed this photograph of prisoner James Brady as a carte-de-visite in a buff mount, now held at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. The mounted cdv was held at the QVMAG until it was removed in 1983-4 for an exhibition at the Port Arthur prison heritage site, returned instead to the TMAG. Both formats - the unmounted print and the mounted cdv - were pasted to the prisoner's criminal record sheets over the course of his criminal career, held originally at the Hobart Gaol and in Photo Books at the Municipal Police Office, Hobart Town Hall which issued Thomas Nevin with this commission to provide police identification photographs from 1872.

Prisoner James BRADY
Photographer: Thomas J. Nevin
Taken at the Hobart Gaol, January 1874
TMAG Ref: Q15604

Verso of cdv: Prisoner James BRADY
Photographer: Thomas J. Nevin
Taken at the Hobart Gaol, January 1874
TMAG Ref: Q15604

The verso of this cdv shows evidence of removal from thick grey paper or board. Transcribed subsequently over the grey scraps with "James Brady per Haversham Taken at Port Arthur 1874" is incorrect information, written in 1916 after this cdv of Brady was exhibited by Beattie, using the terms "Types of Imperial Convicts", "Port Arthur" and the date "1874" to appeal to local and interstate tourists by association with Marcus Clarke's novel of 1874, For the Term of His Natural Life, which was filmed at the prison site at Port Arthur. Renamed as Carnarvon,  it was promoted as Tasmania's premier tourist destination. In short, the transcription of the verso of this prisoner mugshot, as with hundreds more from Beattie's estate acquired by the QVMAG on his death in 1930, is tourism propaganda which reflects neither the actual place and date of the photographic capture nor the prisoner's criminal history.

Aliases 1871-1873
When Thomas Nevin took this earlier photograph at the Hobart Gaol of a younger James Brady, 34 years old, with a full head of curly hair on Brady's petition for discharge to the Attorney-General in August 1873, his photographer's headrest was visible. James Brady's aliases were Edward James and James James. This prisoner was not sent to Port Arthur at any time in his criminal career. The Conduct Register records  (CON94/1/1  p44) show Port Arthur offences struck through because he was only ever incarcerated at the Hobart Gaol from where he lodged three petitions for discharge between 1871 and 1873 . This prisoner photograph by T. J. Nevin of James Brady is now held at the National Library of Australia.

This is an earlier photograph of James Brady, alias Edward James and James James, taken in August 1873 by Thomas J. Nevin at the Hobart Gaol.

NLA Catalogue Ref: nla.obj-142920868
Title James Brady, per Haversham, taken at Port Arthur, 1874 [picture]. NB: incorrect information.
1 photograph on carte-de-visite mount : albumen ; 9.4 x 5.6 cm. on mount 10.5 x 6.3 cm.
Inscription: "107 & 171 ; James Brady, per Haversham, taken at Port Arthur, 1874"--In ink on verso.

Police Records for James Brady
James Brady was a soldier of the 2/14 Regiment, 31 years old, when he arrived in Tasmania in August 1867 on board the Haversham from Adelaide, South Australia, where the 14th Regiment was stationed.
Brady, James
Convict No: 6647
Voyage Ship: Haversham
Arrival Date: 01 Jan 1868
Conduct Record:  CON37/1/10 p5765,  CON94/1/1  p44
Remarks: Soldier 2/14th Regiment. Tried Hobart July 1868\
Source: Archives Office Tasmania

James Brady record 1868-1873
His place of departure is not recorded. 
Brady lodged three petitions between 1871 and 1873 which were declined
TAHO Ref: CON94/1/1  p44

TAHO Ref: CON37/1/10 p5765

Within a year of arrival from in Tasmania in January 1868, James Brady was convicted of uttering a forged cheque on 7th July 1868, and sentenced to eight years at the Supreme Court, Hobart.

James Brady, Free to Colony [FC] , was convicted at the Supreme Court Hobart in the July 1868 sitting, sentenced to eight years for uttering a forged cheque. He was described as 34 years old,

James Brady had been discharged from sentence in July 1869. A warrant for his arrest with the alias James James was issued on 26 August 1870, charged with stealing one cotton rug and two blankets.

James Brady, alias Edward James and James James was arrested on 26 April 1871.

James Brady alias Edward James and James James was convicted of larceny at Oatlands in the week ending 29 April 1871. His sentence being longer than three months, he was incarcerated once again at the Hobart Gaol. He had given a false name, age and ship of arrival when convicted in Oatlands. The Hobart Gaol corrected his record per the police gazette notice when he was discharged in 1874.

Between 1871 and 1873, James Brady lodged petitions to the Executive Council and the Attorney-General (W. R. Giblin) for freedom, but all three requests were declined. Once Giblin's refusal was on record, Thomas Nevin was required to photograph this prisoner (among the many others with similar declined petitions) by  the A-G, W. R. Giblin who had issued the police photographer commission to Nevin in February 1872 after the visit to Hobart by the judiciary and senior officials of the colony of Victoria (former Premier O'Shanassy and A-G Spensley). Thomas Nevin took and printed this photograph at the Hobart Gaol in August 1873, and not at Port Arthur, because James Brady was never incarcerated there (item held at the NLA).

Detail: James Brady convict record Hobart Gaol 1868-1873 
Brady lodged three petitions between April 1871 and August 1873 which were declined
TAHO Ref: CON94/1/1  p44

Source: Tasmania Reports of Crime Information for Police, J. Barnard, Government Printer

T. J. Nevin's second photograph of James Brady was taken on discharge from the Hobart Gaol in the week ending 21st January, 1874. TMAG collection.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

A Christmas Story: Captain Goldsmith, Charles Dickens and the Higham mail box.


Exactly one year ago, on December 10th, 2014, the mail box set into the wall outside Charles Dicken's house at 6 Gadshill Place, in the village of Higham, Kent (UK) where he died on the 9th June 1870, was recommissioned by the Royal Mail after more than twenty years of standing idle, decommissioned in the 1990s. The Charles Dickens Centre (Gads Hill) Charitable Trust, and the Letter Box Study Group alerted Royal Mail to the historical and cultural significance of the postbox, and asked if it could be put back into service.

To commemorate the occasion, a plaque was attached next to the box, stating that -
‘This letterbox outside Gad’s Hill Place, home of Charles Dickens, was used by the author and his family between 1859 and 1870.
‘Proudly restored in his memory by Royal Mail, 10.12.14’
- and a special postmark was applied to mail posted in the box from the 15th to 18th December 2014 bearing the letters ‘CD’, in tribute to the way Dickens used to seal his mail before he posted it.

Source: right: The short-term handstamp, "CD" Postmark Bulletin, London Special Handstamp Centre, Ref 13298.
Source: left: Envelope front to Mr Sly, dated 1st October 1869. John Wilson Manuscripts

The postbox was officially opened by great-great granddaughter Marion Dickens who said on posting the first letter:
"In our digital world, handwritten letters are more appreciated than ever. Being able to post mine in the letterbox regularly used by my great-great-grandfather makes me feel thrillingly close to him.

He wrote a dozen letters every day and made excellent use of this box, and the new postal services that were developing all over the country in his lifetime.

144 years after he posted his last letter from Gad’s Hills, it’s wonderful that the Royal Mail have made it possible for me to do exactly the same..."
Source: The postbox of Christmas past: Royal Mail recommissions Charles Dickens’ postbox

Source: Charles Dickens’s personal postbox, outside his Kent home, has been recommissioned ahead of Christmas. Photograph: Royal Mail/PA

Source: Video at YouTube: Charles Dickens postbox reopened at Gad's Hill

Connections past and present
On January 18th, 2014, this weblog posted an article with reference to two of Charles Dickens' letters complaining about his neighbour, retired master mariner Captain Edward Goldsmith at Gadshill, in the village of Higham, Kent (UK). The first letter dated 1857 concerned Captain Goldsmith's monopoly of the water supply in the village, and the second dated 1859 concerned the location of the village mailbox outside Captain Goldsmith's house. It took just a few months in 2014, from January when we first posted the reference to Captain Goldsmith and the Higham mailbox in Charles Dickens' letters, to December 2014 when this now famous mailbox found restitution as a fully operational service of the Royal Mail. Perhaps we played a small part in bringing the mailbox back into service. Our generous Captain Goldsmith, without doubt, is the ancestor who keeps on giving.

For Captain Goldsmith's nieces Elizabeth Rachel Day and Mary Sophia Day, daughters of Captain Goldsmith's wife's brother, Captain James Day back in Tasmania, the relocation of the mailbox from Captain Goldsmith's house to the wall outside Dickens' house in 1859 would have been more than newsworthy concerning this famous neighbour of their illustrious uncle. It meant he would not be as closely associated with their family mail arriving and leaving the village as before. Both nieces at Captain Goldsmith's death in 1869, including photographer Thomas Nevin, husband of his niece Elizabeth Rachel Day, were named as beneficiaries to eleven houses in Vicarage Row (Kent) in Captain Goldsmith's will, an indication that correspondence between these family members in Hobart  Tasmania and Higham Kent was constant from February 1856 when Captain Goldsmith, his wife Elizabeth and son Edward Goldsmith jnr departed Tasmania for good to settle permanently at Gadshill.

Extracts from Captain Edward Goldsmith's will:

Pages 1,Captain Edward Goldsmith's will, 1871 and Bill of Complaint 1872
(Ref: National Archives UK C16/781 C546012)
TRANSCRIPT Frontispiece  1872
1872 D. 50
In Chancery
Between Mary Sophia Day (an infant under the age of 21 years) by Thomas Butler her next friend .. Plaintiff
Elizabeth Goldsmith, William Bell Bentley, Alfred Bentley, Edward Goldsmith and Sarah Jane his wife, Caroline Tolhurst, Matilda Tolhurst (inserted), Edward Tolhurst, Richard Tolhurst and Thomas Nevin and Elizabeth Rachel his wife (the four last named defendants being out of the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court) ... Defendants
I the undersigned Thomas Butler of No. 9 The Grove Gravesend in the County of Kent Genteleman (inserted) hereby authorize and request you Mr Thomas Sismey of No. 11 Sergeants Inn Fleet Street in the City of London Solicitor to institute the above suit on behalf of the above named infant plaintiff Mary Sophia Day who is now residing at Hobart Town in Tasmania and is a spinster and to use my name as her next friend for such purpose
Dated this twenty fifth day of March 1872
Thomas Butler

Page 4 of Captain Goldsmith's will re Vicarage Row.

Captain Goldsmith's will to bequeath 11 houses to Thomas and Elizabeth Nevin in Vicarage Row, near Gravesend. Google maps 2013.

On retirement from the merchant marine trade in 1856, Captain Edward Goldsmith (1808-1869) returned to the area around Chalk in Kent where he was born, settling back at Higham with Elizabeth his wife, to oversee his extensive freehold and leasehold properties. They were resident once more at Gads Hill House by 1857 when Charles Dickens made mention of Captain Goldsmith's abundant water supply, but by the 1861 Census, the Goldsmiths' were resident at Higham Lodge while renovations were made to Gads Hill House. The brick wall of Higham Lodge is visible in this postcard view (1905), adjacent to the Sir John Falstaff Inn at the corner of Telegraph Hill and Gravesend Road when the inn's wall was plastered with theatrical bills.

Postcard: Sir John Falstaff Inn, Gad's Hill, Published by Hartmann Saxony, 1905

Postcard, Gad's Hill, 1907. Source: CityArk, Medway, UK.

1861 UK Census: Captain Edward Goldsmith, retired master mariner, age 56, resident of Higham Lodge, together with his wife Elizabeth, age 54, and servant Louisa Eatten, age 21.

Higham Lodge 
Source: Medway Archives, Couchman Collection. Ref: DE 402/24/37 (L)

Higham Lodge and conservatory is clearly seen in this undated photograph taken before the cedar trees further down the Gravesend Road were removed in 1907.

Source: Medway Archives, Couchman Collection
The Gravesend Road, Gadshill cedars trees where Dickens' chalet was located.

Those cedar trees were located in the "Shrubbery" opposite Charles Dickens' house, accessed from No. 6 Gad's Hill Place by a tunnel under the road leading to his Chalet, 1865-1870. Dickens referred to the chalet's location as his "Wilderness", so it was not without an ironic nod to Dickens when John Nevin snr, father of photographer Thomas J. Nevin and soon-to-be father-in-law of Elizabeth Rachel Day, Captain Goldsmith''s niece, published his poem titled "My Cottage in the Wilderness" in 1868, referring to the family home he built in a real wilderness situated on land next to Lady Franklin's museum at Kangaroo Valley, Hobart, Tasmania.

Higham Lodge, foreground on right, Falstaff Inn on right in distance opposite Dickens' former house, Gadshill Place, now a school with sign where the mail box is located a little further down the Gravesend Road. Google maps 2013.

Gads Hill House was listed in Captain Goldsmith's will, 1869, as leased to Mr Andrew Chalmers Dods on a piece of land measuring 6a, 3r, 28p which was undergoing extensions and enlargement, payment for which was to be executed out of the Captain's other estates, excluding Vicarage Row. Originally named Mount Prospect, Gads Hill House was located at the top of Telegraph Hill with commanding views of the Medway to the north and Cobham Hall to the south west, hence Charles. Dickens' description of it as "that crow's-nest of a house". Outside the gates was a beacon and a ship's bell on a metal stand at the front door. Although Captain Goldsmith was one of the first owners of the house, if not the original owner in 1825, Mr John Townsend, MP for Greenwich and a Shakespearian actor of note ca. 1842, was thought to reside there. Captain Goldsmith's generosity in easing Townsend's considerable debts, among other acts of kindness in the district for which the Captain was known, was mentioned by  Cecil Fielding in 1882 on page 7 of his publication,  A Hand-book of Higham: Or the Curiosities of a Country Parish.

Cecil Fielding on Captain Goldsmith at Gadshill, A Hand-book of Higham: Or the Curiosities of a Country Parish (1882: 7)

A real estate journalist described Gads Hill House in these terms in 2002:
Gads Hill House, near Rochester, Kent. A long, sweeping drive, six bedrooms, magnificent full-length hall, huge reception rooms - what more could a City commuter want in a country residence? Land? There are more than four acres of woodland and gardens, including a croquet lawn and orchard. Somewhere to lay down the claret? There are three cellars and a wine store. And with regular commuter trains from Higham, two miles away, to London, you could still be back to bath the kids.
In 2009, Gads Hill House Telegraph Hill, Rochester, Gravesham, Kent, ME3 7NW was the most expensive house purchase in Telegraph Hill, sold for £1,395,000.

What remains of Captain Goldsmith's property at Gads Hill. 
Gads Hill House with yellow gravel in front and acreage behind
Google maps capture 2016

Captain Goldsmith's will 1872, Item 7: Gadshill House 

Charles Dickens' Water Supply and the Letter Box
When Charles Dickens (1812-1870) settled finally into the house at 6 Gad's Hill Place, Higham, Kent (UK) in 1857, his attention was drawn to Captain Goldsmith on two most urgent matters - the water supply to his house and the location of the mail box, both of which Captain Goldsmith seemed to monopolise.

Victoria & Albert Museum
Charles Dickens,
Coloured albumen carte-de-visite, J & C Watkins,[1863]
Museum no. 1712:21-1956

At first, Dickens' excitement at buying the property knew no bounds. These extracts are from his letters. On January 17th, 1857, he wrote -
[Sidenote: M. de Cerjat.]

TAVISTOCK HOUSE, _Monday Night, Jan, 17th, 1857

...Down at Gad's Hill, near Rochester, in Kent--Shakespeare's Gad's Hill,
where Falstaff engaged in the robbery--is a quaint little country-house
of Queen Anne's time. I happened to be walking past, a year and a half
or so ago, with my sub-editor of "Household Words," when I said to him:
"You see that house? It has always a curious interest for me, because
when I was a small boy down in these parts I thought it the most
beautiful house (I suppose because of its famous old cedar-trees) ever
seen. And my poor father used to bring me to look at it, and used to say
that if I ever grew up to be a clever man perhaps I might own that
house, or such another house. In remembrance of which, I have always in
passing looked to see if it was to be sold or let, and it has never been
to me like any other house, and it has never changed at all." We came
back to town, and my friend went out to dinner. Next morning he came to
me in great excitement, and said: "It is written that you were to have
that house at Gad's Hill. The lady I had allotted to me to take down to
dinner yesterday began to speak of that neighbourhood. 'You know it?' I
said; 'I have been there to-day.' 'O yes,' said she, 'I know it very
well. I was a child there, in the house they call Gad's Hill Place. My
father was the rector, and lived there many years. He has just died, has
left it to me, and I want to sell it.' 'So,' says the sub-editor, 'you
must buy it. Now or never!'" I did, and hope to pass next summer there,
though I may, perhaps, let it afterwards, furnished, from time to time....

But serious issues soon emerged "on the great estate" a few months later. On June 6th, he wrote -

[Sidenote: Mr. Henry Austin.]

GAD'S HILL, _Saturday, June 6th, 1857._

Here is a very serious business on the great estate respecting the water
supply. Last night, they had pumped the well dry merely in raising the
family supply for the day; and this morning (very little water having
been got into the cisterns) it is dry again! It is pretty clear to me
that we must look the thing in the face, and at once bore deeper, dig,
or do some beastly thing or other, to secure this necessary in
abundance. Meanwhile I am in a most plaintive and forlorn condition
without your presence and counsel. I raise my voice in the wilderness
and implore the same!!!

Wild legends are in circulation among the servants how that Captain
Goldsmith on the knoll above--the skipper in that crow's-nest of a
house--has millions of gallons of water always flowing for him. Can he
have damaged my well? Can we imitate him, and have our millions of
gallons? Goldsmith or I must fall, so I conceive.

If you get this, send me a telegraph message informing me when I may
expect comfort. I am held by four of the family while I write this, in
case I should do myself a mischief--it certainly won't be taking to
drinking water.

Ever affectionately (most despairingly).

In a letter to Henry Austin on 15 August 1857, the water supply problem had been solved with a bore. Dickens wrote -

[Sidenote: Mr. Henry Austin.]

GAD'S HILL PLACE, _Saturday, Aug. 15th, 1857.

At last, I am happy to inform you, we have got at a famous spring!! It
rushed in this morning, ten foot deep. And our friends talk of its
supplying "a ton a minute for yourself and your family, sir, for

They ask leave to bore ten feet lower, to prevent the possibility of
what they call "a choking with sullage." Likewise, they are going to
insert "a rose-headed pipe;" at the mention of which implement, I am
(secretly) well-nigh distracted, having no idea of what it means. But I
have said "Yes," besides instantly standing a bottle of gin. Can you
come back, and can you get down on Monday morning, to advise and
endeavour to decide on the mechanical force we shall use for raising the
water? I would return with you, as I shall have to be in town until
Thursday, and then to go to Manchester until the following Tuesday.
I send this by hand to John, to bring to you.
The cause of the water supply problem for Dickens' house at Glads Hill Place at the bottom of Telegraph Hill is best explained by former resident Carole Turner in the 1980s of Captain Goldsmith's Gads Hill House at the top of Telegraph Hill:

The water table at the top of the hill was very high and the cellars of the house regularly flooded. The strange thing was that they only flooded in times of drought not in times of very wet weather. I researched it and there is a suggestion that in drought times they stopped pumping from Higham marshes and this somehow caused the water table to rise at the top of the hill. Presumably properties at the bottom i.e Dickens Gads Hill Place would have had empty wells. There were three wells at Gads Hill House and they were always was the cellar for a good deal of the time! as once flooded the water did not drain away for a very long time. Suddenly in the middle of a very hot summer I would go down to the cellar and find it flooded...quite bizarre. 
Source; courtesy of Carole Turner, personal correspondence, 4th February 2016

The second problem Charles Dickens discovered with regard to Captain Goldsmith's dominating presence in the village was the location of the mail box. Dickens is thought to have sent 2000 letters through the mail box at Gad's Hill Place, Higham between its installation there in March 1859 and his death in 1870. Before its installation in his wall fronting Gravesend Road which he requested from the Post Office, the mail box was located outside Captain Edward Goldsmith's house, the garden wall of which abutted the high road, but the box itself was located some distance up Telegraph Hill. Dickens wrote this letter complaining of the inconvenience to Edmund Yates of the Post Office, dated 29th March 1859: -

[Sidenote: Mr. Edmund Yates.]

Tuesday, March 29th, 1859.

1. I think that no one seeing the place can well doubt that my house at
Gad's Hill is the place for the letter-box. The wall is accessible by
all sorts and conditions of men, on the bold high road, and the house
altogether is the great landmark of the whole neighbourhood. Captain
Goldsmith's house is up a lane considerably off the high road; but he
has a garden wall abutting on the road itself.

Source: Letters of Charles Dickens 1833-1870

The Higham mailbox, Google maps photo, May 2014 before its renovation and recommission in December 2014.

Were Charles Dickens and Captain Edward Goldsmith well-acquainted, even on close terms? Most assuredly, it can be assumed at this point, and for these reasons:

WATER SUPPLY: Dickens would have approached Captain Goldsmith as soon as he realized he had a problem supplying water to his new purchase at Gad's Hill. Captain Goldsmith was knowledgeable about springs, bores, pipes and pumps; his own household enjoyed "millions of gallons", as Dickens complained at the time. Only a skipper of great merchant and passenger ships at sea for months on end would understand pumps, not to mention 20 years' experience on the driest continent on earth, the Australian colonies, where bores provided the only solution to endless drought. And as a shipyard and patent slip operator, he was handy with machinery. Dickens would have welcomed his assistance as one of his "friends" who had overcome the problem with a bore by July and promised him "a ton a minute for yourself and your family, sir, for nevermore".

LETTER BOX: The village mail box was still located up the lane outside Captain Goldsmith's house in 1859 until Dickens requested its placement at his wall on the Gravesend Road. In those two years or so, from 1857, Dickens would have needed to post and collect his burgeoning mail daily by visiting Captain Goldsmith's house. And while the Captain might have put questions to Dickens about his fictional characters, Dickens in turn would have learnt a great deal from Captain Goldsmith about transported convicts' miseries and settlers' prosperity in the Australian colonies. During the Gad's Hill Place years until his death, Dickens wrote these great works of fiction:

Little Dorrit (Monthly serial, December 1855 to June 1857)
A Tale of Two Cities (Weekly serial in All the Year Round, 30 April 1859, to 26 November 1859)
Great Expectations (Weekly serial in All the Year Round, 1 December 1860 to 3 August 1861)
The Uncommercial Traveller (1860–1869)
Our Mutual Friend (Monthly serial, May 1864 to November 1865)
The Mystery of Edwin Drood (Monthly serial, April 1870 to September 1870. Only six of twelve planned numbers completed)

There were tales too told of Sir John Franklin, Lieutenant Governor of Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) who was a close friend and dinner companion of Captain Edward Goldsmith. Franklin's disappearance in 1847 in the Canadian Arctic inspired Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens to write and perform the drama, The Frozen Deep (1856). Their performances in the play bookend the 2013 film The Invisible Woman  (dir. Ralph Fiennes).

Tom Hollander as Wilkie Collins, and Ralph Fiennes as Charles Dickens in The Invisible Woman (BBC Films)

CHALK CHURCH: Both men favoured the little Chalk Church (St Mary's) above all others in the area. Dickens would make a greeting to the carving of a tipsy monk above the Church  porch on his walks back from Rochester. Captain Edward Goldsmith, his wife Elizabeth, and their son Edward Goldsmith jnr were all buried in the Chalk Church graveyard.

RENOVATIONS, extensions, leases on meadows and fields etc: These were extensive on the part of both Captain Goldsmith and Charles Dickens, intertwining their lives right up to their deaths, respectively in 1869 and 1870. In the 1881 UK Census, Edward Goldsmith jnr, aged 44 yrs,  and his wife Sarah Jane Goldsmith, aged 43yrs, born at Deptford, Kent in 1838, were resident at 13 Upper Clarence Place, Rochester, Kent, next door to the house at No. 11 Upper Clarence Place where Charles Dickens’ mistress Ellen Ternan was born (she first met Dickens in 1857). Edward’s income was “HOUSES” in 1881. He had inherited extensive leaseholds and real estate from his father Captain Edward Goldsmith, and mother Elizabeth Goldsmith nee Day, but by 1883, Edward was dead, aged 46yrs old. He was buried with his parents at Chalk Church.

And many thanks to Carole Turner, former resident of Gads Hill House in the 1980s. for personal communications.

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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Prisoner Henry CLABBY and the TMAG frame-up


More than sixty photographs taken by government contractor Thomas J. Nevin in the 1870s of Tasmanian prisoners - or "convicts" as they are labelled in tourism discourse - are held at The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. Click here: Rogues Gallery, the TMAG Collection to see 56 copies recto and verso acquired by this weblog in 2015.

Prisoner Henry CLABBY
Prisoner Henry CLABBY alias Cooper, 22 yrs old, and locally born  ("native") was photographed by Thomas J. Nevin at the Hobart Gaol for the Municipal Police Office Hobart, between 4th-24th January 1874. This photograph was originally held at the QVMAG, numbered "142" on recto and transcribed verso in 1915 for display at convictarian John Watt Beattie's Port Arthur Museum, located in Hobart. It is now held at the TMAG Ref: Q15600.

Prisoner Henry CLABBY alias Cooper,
TMAG Ref: Q15600.
Photographer: T. J. Nevin 1874

Verso: Prisoner Henry CLABBY alias Cooper, 22 yrs old, and locally born ("native") was photographed by Thomas J. Nevin at the Mayor's Court for the Municipal Police Office Hobart, between 4th-24th January 1874. This photograph was originally held at the QVMAG, numbered "142" on recto and transcribed verso in 1915 for display at convictarian John Watt Beattie's Port Arthur Museum, located in Hobart. It is now held at the TMAG Ref: Q15600.


Henry Clabby was sentenced to three months at the Hobart Gaol on 30th November 1871 for larceny. He was 17 years old. He was discharged at Hobart in the week ending 6th March 1872.

Henry Clabby, notice of conviction while incarcerated at the Hobart Gaol,  March 1872

Henry Clabby's conviction for larceny extended to six months, 30 March 1872

Henry Clabby was discharged on 9th October 1872.

Henry Clabby was convicted again for larceny on 3 February 1873, sentenced to 6 months, now 19 years old, and discharged on 20 August 1873.

Henry Clabby's conviction now extended to 12 months on 6 September 1873.

Henry Clabby was using the alias of Cooper by 1880 when he was convicted of asssault on 22 June, served three months, and discharged on 22 September 1880. He was now 27 years old.

Henry Clabby at the Port Arthur Prison
From 30th January 1874 to 19th March 1875:
Henry Clabby's criminal convictions began with larceny in 1871 when he was 17 years old,  a crime he continued to commit over the next two years, serving sentences of three months to twelve months at the Hobart Gaol.  On 4 September 1873 he was sentenced to 12 months for larceny, followed by a month in the cells at the Mayor's Court, Hobart Municipal Police, Hobart Town Hall for disobeying orders on 4th January 1874, when he was photographed by Thomas J. Nevin.  Incarceration at the Hobart Gaol once more for larceny and assaulting a warden earned him a sentence of 12 months on 24th January 1874 with imprisonment at Port Arthur. He was one of the young prisoners sent down to the Port Arthur prison, arriving there on 30th January 1874 against the wishes of the newly incumbent Commandant, Dr. Coverdale who had voiced discontent in petitions to Parliament in July 1873 concerning young males being locked up with older, hardened criminals, demands echoed by the public for the immediate closure of the Port Arthur prison. Three incidents at Port Arthur delayed his transfer back to the Hobart Gaol, recommended on 17th March 1874 for discharge (records below) if conduct was good.  Clabby was transferred back to the House of Correction Hobart (i.e. the Hobart Gaol, Campbell St.) on 19th March 1875.

TAHO Ref: CON94-1-2_00039-40
Description:Conduct register - Port Arthur
Start Date:01 Aug 1873
End Date:30 Sep 1876

Frame-Up at the TMAG
The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery constructed four wooden-framed collages under glass from their collection of Thomas Nevin's prisoner mugshots for an exhibition titled Mirror with a Memory at the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, in 2000. Henry Clabby's image was placed top row, centre in this frame. However, for reasons best described as blind-sided, the TMAG staff who chose these mugshots sent the four frames to Canberra, five cdvs in the first, six per frame in the other three, with labels on the back of each wooden frame stating quite clearly that the photographs were attributed to A. H. Boyd, the much despised Commandant of the Port Arthur prison who was not a photographer by any definition of the term, nor an engineer despite any pretension on his part and especially despite the social pretensions of his descendants who began circulating the photographer attribution as a rumour in the 1980s to compensate no doubt for Boyd's vile reputation.

Names as they appear on the back of the wooden frame:
Top, from left to right: James Rogers, Henry Clabley [sic], George Leathley
Bottom, from left to right: Ephraim Booth, William Price, Robert West

Photos recto and verso copyright © KLW NFC Imprint 2014-2015
Taken at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, 10 November 2014

Three frames with the eighteen names of their prisoners' cdvs were listed in the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in 2000, but one of the four frames at the TMAG which was NOT listed at the NPG in 2000 was the one containing a carte-de-visite photograph of civil servant and one-time commandant of the Port Arthur prison, A. H. Boyd, taken by professional photographer Charles A. Woolley at his Hobart studio in 1866. The photograph of A. H. Boyd was donated to the TMAG in 1978 by a Mr. I Boyd, one year after the QVMAG had exhibited a large selection of their collection of 1870s mugshots with the correct attribution to T. J. Nevin from the Beattie collection.

A. H. Boyd at centre, surrounded by four prisoners,
Photos taken at the TMAG 10th November 2014
Photos copyright © KLW NFC 2014 ARR. Watermarked.

Photographic portrait of A. H. Boyd, donated to the TMAG in 1978
Photographer: Charles A. Woolley ca. 1866
TMAG Ref:Q7661

[Above] FRAME UP: a wooden display frame of four cdvs of Tasmanian prisoners by T. J. Nevin 1873-4, with a portrait of A. H. Boyd by C. A. Woolley, ca. 1866 (centre) prepared from the TMAG holdings for exhibitions in 2000-2003. Neither Woolley nor Boyd photographed these four or any other prisoner for the Hobart City Council's Municipal Police Office and Hobart Gaol, though the viewer seeing this frame on the wall of a museum or gallery would be encouraged to think otherwise. Woolley’s photograph of A. H. Boyd was taken at his Hobart studio about the same time that Boyd was forced to resign from the Queen’s Orphan School, New Town, under allegations of misogyny (1865). He was not photographed by Woolley at Port Arthur, nor were the four prisoners in this frame. The latter were photographed on discharge at the Hobart Supreme Court in Gaol Delivery sessions between 1873 and 1874 by T. J. Nevin.

THIS IS THE CORRECT INFORMATION with information on prisoner discharges sourced from Tasmania Reports of Crime, Information for Police, J. Barnard Gov't printer:

Top right: Prisoner William Sewell per Siam, photographed by Nevin on discharge 24 January 1874
Top left: Prisoner George Charlton per Blundell photographed by Nevin on discharge 23 October 1873
Bottom right: Prisoner Stephen Kelly per Louisa photographed by Nevin on discharge 18 November 1874
Bottom left: Prisoner John Nestor per Hydrabad photographed by Nevin on discharge 9 December 1874
Centre: Civil servant A. H. Boyd photographed by Charles A. Woolley ca. 1866

This particular frame with Woolley's portrait of Boyd was not listed in the exhibition in 2000 at the NPG, though it too may have been on display with the other three frames, four in total. The person(s) who constructed this grouping of the four prisoners and one prison official had an agenda: their wish to create a photographer attribution to the prison official and non-photographer A. H. Boyd by visual association.  The framers did so by simply placing a photograph purporting to be A. H. Boyd in the centre of the picture, and then carefully surrounding it with four mugshots of prisoners taken by the REAL photographer who stood in front of these men with his camera and who was commissioned to do so, namely government contractor Thomas J. Nevin. On the back of the wooden picture the compilers of this scenario printed labels with full photographic attribution to prison official A. H. Boyd, and sent the framed picture off to interstate exhibitions. This childish deception was the only means by which A. H. Boyd could be attributed as the photographer of the so-called "Port Arthur convicts" by these fabricators because they knew full well that there are no extant photographs by A. H. Boyd in any genre, nor is there any document of the period to validate his association with police photography. He was simply NOT A PHOTOGRAPHER of Tasmanian prisoners or anything else. This wily curatorial sleight of hand was their only means at creating the pretension.

The studio portrait of A. H. Boyd at centre was donated to the TMAG in 1978 by descendant Mr. I. Boyd, just a few months after the QVMAG held an exhibition of their Tasmanian prisoner cdvs in Thomas J. Nevin’s name in 1977.  Each of these four prisoner photographs (and another 18 in three similar frames constructed by the TMAG for travelling exhibitions) originally belonged to the estate of convictaria collector John Watt Beattie which was acquired by the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston in 1930, but they were removed from the QVMAG for an exhibition held at Port Arthur in 1983 and never returned, deposited instead at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart. It was soon after this date (ca. 1984) that the lie about A. H. Boyd as the photographer of these prisoners took hold as a corporate narrative for visitors to Port Arthur. With visual aids such as this artfully devised collage, the TMAG gave credence to the pretension, based on nothing more than anecdotal hearsay about a “rumour” overheard from a Boyd descendant visiting the Port Arthur site. The “rumour” morphed into a photographer attribution of “convicts” by 1995 at the TMAG when their A-Z publication of Tasmanian Photographers 1840-1940 appeared, profferred as a belief by its author Chris Long despite the complete lack of evidence of any kind, or any extant validated works by A. H. Boyd.

Charles A. Woolley's photo of A. H. Boyd was placed centre with four mugshots of prisoners when this picture was composed, framed, sealed at the TMAG,  and sent off to exhibitions in 2000-2003. The verso of this picture frame (below) bears sole photographic attribution to A.H. Boyd for the four prisoner photographs, and attribution to Charles A. Woolley for the photograph centre purporting to be a portrait of A. H. Boyd.

Front and verso of wooden framed picture No. 113
Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery  Collection
Four cdv photographs of Tasmanian prisoners by T. Nevin, and centre, a photograph of A. H. Boyd by C. A. Woolley

Photos taken at the TMAG 10th November 2014
Photos copyright © KLW NFC 2014 ARR. Watermarked.

The attribution to A. H. Boyd (who was briefly a Commandant at Port Arthur, 1871-73) as the photographer of Tasmanian prisoners at the Port Arthur prison is a MYTH. It may or may not have originated with his descendant Mr. I. Boyd who donated the single photograph of his ancestor A. H. Boyd, taken in the 1860s by commercial photographer C. A. Woolley, to the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery in 1978, a year after the QVMAG exhibited their collection of Port Arthur convict photographs with correct attribution to Thomas J. Nevin in 1977. Mr. I. Boyd may have simply wanted to contribute his ancestor's photograph to the public collections in 1978 as a result of increased interest generated by the QVMAG exhibition in 1977. However, by 1987 and the mid 1990s, the strident claims made by the creators of the myth became more desperate as print-based refutations were directed at them by authoritative researchers (Kerr, Stilwell, Neville etc). As soon as these weblogs appeared in 2005, the stridency from museum and heritage site workers turned to hostility and hysteria because they realized that their published mistakes had to be protected at all costs, that their deceptions were exposed, and their reputations under fire.

The QVMAG had correctly attributed the mugshots of convicts to police and commercial photographer Thomas J. Nevin in 1977. But by 1987 and subsequently, exhibitions were mounted at venues such as the National Portrait Gallery by "curators" who had simply collated the ONE Woolley photograph of A. H. Boyd - acquired by the TMAG in 1978 - with Nevin's convict photographs which had been physically removed from the QVMAG collection in 1983 by Elspeth Wishart for a display and exhibition at the Port Arthur Heritage Site. The majority of the prisoner photographs in these four picture frames bear a pencilled number on the front. Those numbers appear as missing prisoner photographs on the QVMAG lists of 1-300 convict cdvs which were originally archived at the QVMAG in Beattie's collection. For example, Henry Clabby's is numbered "142" on recto, and is noted as missing from the QVMAG on the list below when an inventory was prepared (received here in 2005).

The list of the remaining 72 Tasmanian prisoner "portraits" in the Beattie Collection 2005 (QVMAG)
The numbers pencilled on the right show those which were removed in 1983 and taken to Port Arthur for an exhibition, but were returned to the TMAG and not the QVMAG .
Copyright © KLW NFC Imprint 2005

By placing just FOUR convict mugshots together in a pretty little wooden frame with the Woolley photograph of A.H. Boyd at centre, these curiously naive "curators" proclaimed Boyd THE photographer of these mugshots. It is a CONSTRUCT, a fictional creation using five photographs, a wooden frame and glass, and attribution by forced visual association. Anyone who perpetuates the MYTH that A. H. Boyd photographed prisoners is indulging themselves with an illusion based on nothing more than this fantasy arrangement of cdvs as a picture.

The other three framed pictures

Top, left to right: James Glenn, William Ryan, Alfred Doran
Bottom, left to right: William Dawson, John Dowling, James Merchant

Photos recto and verso copyright © KLW NFC Imprint 2014-2015
Taken at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, 10 November 2014

Top, from left to right: James Rogers, Henry Clabley [sic], George Leathley
Bottom, from left to right: Ephraim Booth, William Price, Robert West

Photos recto and verso copyright © KLW NFC Imprint 2014-2015
Taken at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, 10 November 2014

Top, from left to right: John White, Daniel Murphy, James Harrison
Bottom from left to right: Daniel Davis, George Willis, James Martin
Photos recto and verso copyright © KLW NFC Imprint 2014-2015
Taken at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, 10 November 2014

The recto and versos of these particular photographs of prisoners under glass bear numbers which were transcribed before they were removed and dispersed from the QVMAG's collection. Some of these numbers on the front of the mount and back of the photograph correspond to the number registered in the Hobart Gaol Photo Books, which were constructed separately from the criminal record sheets where another copy of the prisoner's photograph was pasted. Every pencilled number of a photograph in the QVMAG list (above) was removed from the QVMAG in 1983-4, taken to the Port Arthur prison site for exhibition and returned to the Archives Office of Tasmania collections stored at Rosny, Hobart. When the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery moved into the Rosny site, the museum acquired this particular collection which should have been returned to the QVMAG with the rest of the prisoner mugshots salvaged by Beattie from the Hobart Gaol. The Photo Books from the 1870s apparently have not survived intact, perhaps because they were dismantled by Beattie for display and sale in the 1900s. but the references to numbered photographs in separate photo books are to be found on prisoner's record sheets, eg. this rap sheet for prisoner Albert Pearce:

"For photo see Photo Book No. 4 p. 23"
TAHO Ref: 2/368

The prisoner mugshots in the four frames under glass are all numbered recto except for Daniel Davis'. Each is listed as missing, i.e pencilled in the right margin, on the QVMAG lists (see above).

Recto: 76. Verso 22. James Merchant MM Exhib
Recto: 157. Verso 27. Stephen Kelly in frame with Boyd
Recto: 21. Verso 35. Alfred Doran MM Exhib
Recto: 181. Verso 40. John White MM Exhib
Recto: 136. Verso 56. James Rogers MM Exhib
Recto: 9. Verso 53. James Glenn MM Exhib
Recto: 6. Verso 77. William Sewell in frame with Boyd
Recto: 117. Verso 97. Robert West MM Exhib
Recto: 125. Verso 99. James Harrison MM Exhib
Recto: 46. Verso 113. William Dawson MM Exhib
Recto: 94. Verso 137. Ephraim Booth MM Exhib
Recto: 157. Verso 165. Stephen Kelly duplicate
Recto: 152. Verso 204. Daniel Murphy MM Exhib
Recto: 178. Verso 210. John Nestor in frame with Boyd
Recto: 183. Verso 224. James Martin MM Exhib
Recto: 89. Verso 226. George Leathley MM Exhib
Recto: 188. Verso 236. George Willis MM Exhib
Recto: 188. Verso 237. George Willis duplicate
Recto: 60. Verso 248. William Ryan MM Exhib
Recto: 100. Verso 265. William Price MM Exhib
Recto: 58. Verso 276. George Charlton in frame with Boyd
Recto: 70. Verso 268. John Dowling MM Exhib
Recto: 142. Verso 300. Henry Clabley MM Exhib
Recto: no number. Verso 486. Daniel Davis no front number? MM Exhib

Mirror with a Memory Exhibition 2000
These four wooden framed pictures containing a total of 22 cdvs were prepared in the 1980s for exhibitions at venues such as the National Portrait Gallery Canberra by "curators" with highly questionable skills and motives. Through this visual association alone, these "curators" proclaimed Boyd THE photographer of these mugshots. There is no evidence anywhere that A. H. Boyd had the skills, knowledge, or official mandate to photograph prisoners, nor are there any extant photographs by Boyd. The TMAG has retained intact the four pictures in wooden frames. The one with A. H. Boyd at the centre of the picture is a FICTIONAL CONSTRUCT expressly and deliberately intended to manufacture a photographer attribution to Boyd using just five photographs, a wooden frame, and glass. Those who perpetuate the MYTH that A. H. Boyd photographed prisoners must be made aware that is it based on nothing more than a piece of visual trickery intended to pander to Boyd's descendants.

Eighteen (18) cartes-de-visite were listed in the Exhibition: the names of the prisoners whose mugshots were exhibited are the same as those listed on the back of the three wooden frames but not the first one which has Boyd placed centre and the four mugshots of Stephen Kelly, William Sewell, John Nestor, George Charlton. So, why does this first frame exist when it was apparently prepared at the same time as the other three frames for exhibition, but not listed as exhibited in the 2000 exhibition Mirror with a Memory at the NPG?

These same photographs of 1870s Tasmanian prisoners were listed in the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, in 2000 minus those four in the frame with the cdv of Boyd.

What was missing from the Mirror exhibition list? The TMAG frame which includes Boyd and the four mugshots of Stephen Kelly, William Sewell, John Nestor, George Charlton.

There were two exceptions borrowed not from the TMAG but from the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery. Both were unattributed BECAUSE their versos were pasted to the prisoner's record sheet, and dated to 1873 without explanation.

1. Unknown photographer Henry Harris, criminal record, loose sheet c. 1873 albumen silver photograph on printed sheet 6.0 x 9.0 on sheet 22.0 x 34.5 Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston

2. Unknown photographer Edward Wilson, criminal record, loose sheet c. 1873 albumen silver photograph on printed sheet6.0 x 9.0 on sheet 22.0 x 34.5 Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston

The NPG exhibition from 4 March to 11 June 2000 titled Mirror With A Memory: Photographic Portraiture in Australia (director: Andrew Sayers) was accompanied by a catalogue.

On page 16 of the Catalogue, under the heading Portraiture and Power, Helen Ennis wrote:
The exhibition also includes a selection of cartes-de-visite portraits of convicts from the Port Arthur penal settlement in Tasmania. Research by [*] Chris Long and [*] Warwick Reeder has established that they were probably the work of Adolarious Humphrey Boyd, the Commandant at Port Arthur from 1871-1874, and a keen photographer.
Boyd's documentation of the convicts is systematic. The photographs are in a carte-de-visite format, nearly always vignetted; each convict is set against a neutral background and is photographed in a three-quarter view, his eyes averted from the camera and from Boyd [note 45].
The photographic transaction expresses and reinforces the power dynamics of the relationship between the Commandant and his charges. Rarely is there any engagement between them or any sense of the subject's investment in images of themselves that presumably they will never see.
[*] Neither Chris Long nor Warwick Reeder established this attribution to the Port Arthur Commandant A.H. Boyd, "probably" or otherwise. Their speculation about attribution has contributed nothing to the history of Tasmanian prison photography. The attribution to T. J. Nevin was established in 1977 without hesitation at the QVMAG which held a significant number of convict cartes stamped by Nevin, although several since seem to have vanished or been lost. Helen Ennis' later NLA publication Intersections (2004) clearly attributed the Port Arthur convict cartes to T. Nevin.

Helen Ennis' "power dynamics" discursive turn of post-modern critical theory now looks dated, and of course, it carries no factual information whatsoever. Far from a lack of "engagement" between sitter and photographer, Thomas Nevin knew convict Michael Murphy (to cite ONE example) from the voyage out on the Fairlie in 1852. Both were boys. Thomas Nevin was accompanied by his parents and three siblings as free settlers, Murphy was transported as a Parkhurst boy. Murphy was released from the Hobart Gaol in 1876. These are facts. Notice how the writer shifts the modality of uncertainty - "probably the work of ... Boyd" - to the modality of certainty - "eyes averted from the camera and from Boyd". With this slippage and sleight of hand, the reader is seamlessly co-opted to the "belief" generated by Chris Long (1995:36).

Another fact to escape Helen Ennis was the attribution of the carte of convict Mumford to support her statements in the catalogue to the exhibition. It was taken from the National Library Collection and correctly attributed to T. J. Nevin together with the rest of the NLA's 83 "Port Arthur convict portraits 1874". The majority of the convicts cartes in the Mirror with a Memory exhibition, however, were borrowed NOT from the NLA in 2000 but from the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, where the A.H. Boyd attribution was derived from confusion generated by researcher Chris Long in the 1980s.

Chris Long and Dan Sprod: correspondence 1983
Chris Long's correspondence with publisher and National Library of Australia Chief Librarian Dan Sprod in 1983 gives an interested reader ample proof of why the confusion arose and how the Boyd misattribution filled the vacuum that Long's messing about with Tasmania's photographic heritage collections created:

Firstly, Chris Long suffered brain damage from a street fight in Launceston in 1983 which he had provoked at the time he was a visiting researcher of 19th century photographs at the QVMAG Launceston, clear indications of his intellectual limitations and a temperament prone to violence  (see page 1 of the letter below);

Secondly, Chris Long's large personal collection of Spurling's landscape photography (2500 negs) meant he was biased towards the landscape genre at the expense of others (see pages 1-3 of the letter below) ;

Thirdly, Chris Long's admiration of Frith's portrait photography, largely because of a personal connection with a Frith descendant, meant he was far more interested in giving focus to Frith and his portraits of the gentry than any other 19th century Tasmanian photographer (see pages 1-3 of the letter below).

Fourthly, and most important of all, it was Chris Long's decision to steer clear of researching Nevin's colleague Samuel Clifford because Dan Sprod was already preparing a book on Clifford's body of work (see page 3 of the letter below). By ignoring Samuel Clifford, Long had not the slightest idea of the extent or nature of Clifford and Nevin's work at Port Arthur from 1868 to 1876. He knew nothing about the courts or judicial legislation and procedures requiring police photography in Tasmania by 1872. Moreover, he did not recognise Thomas Nevin's stamp with the Royal Arms insignia as the standard issue insignia to all government contractors when commenting on Nevin's photographs of prisoners in the TMAG publication of 1995.

Letter from Chris Long to Dan Sprod, 17 July 1983
National Library of Australia
Manuscript Collection MS 8429
Dan Sprod BOX 1
Photos copyright © KLW NFC 2015

Page 1: Letter from Chris Long to Dan Sprod, 17 July 1983
National Library of Australia
Manuscript Collection MS 8429
Dan Sprod BOX 1
Photos copyright © KLW NFC 2015

Page 2: Letter from Chris Long to Dan Sprod, 17 July 1983
National Library of Australia
Manuscript Collection MS 8429
Dan Sprod BOX 1
Photos copyright © KLW NFC 2015

Page 3: Letter from Chris Long to Dan Sprod17 July 1983
National Library of Australia
Manuscript Collection MS 8429
Dan Sprod BOX 1
Photos copyright © KLW NFC 2015

Pages 1-3: Letter from Chris Long to Dan Sprod17 July 1983
National Library of Australia
Manuscript Collection MS 8429
Dan Sprod BOX 1
Photos copyright © KLW NFC 2015

The list of photographers which Chris Long submitted to Dan Sprod in 1983 for the proposed A-Z directory of Tasmanian Photographers 1840-1940 (TMAG 1995) included Thomas J. Nevin with the note that his work had survived in reasonable quantity, but there was no A. H. BOYD on the original list. Chris Long had not heard of any photographer by the name of A. H. Boyd in 1983, because there never was a photographer by that name.  A. H. Boyd was not a photographer, and certainly not THE photographer of Tasmanian prisoners at Port Arthur in 1874, but between 1983 and 1984, a year after Chris Long completed his "research",  the Boyd misattribution was fabricated at the Port Arthur Heritage Site and the TMAG (see Elspeth Wishart's notes online against the mugshots she removed from the QVMAG to take to Port Arthur and returned to the TMAG). With World Heritage status now finally secured, the PAHSMA wants visitors to the theme park to believe in furphies such as this one about their Commandant A.H. Boyd - the native born accountant with a memorable reputation as a bullying administrator in his own life time but none as the photographer of prisoners - with the same insouciance they want their visitors to believe in ghosts.

Appendix 2: p. 35
List of Tasmanian photographers
Letter from Chris Long to Dan Sprod
National Library of Australia
Manuscript Collection MS 8429
Dan Sprod BOX 1
Photos copyright © KLW NFC 2015

Appendix 2: p. 36 
T. J.  NEVIN * "The photographer's work survives in reasonable quantities"

List of Tasmanian photographers
Letter from Chris Long to Dan Sprod
National Library of Australia
Manuscript Collection MS 8429
Dan Sprod BOX 1
Photos copyright © KLW NFC 2015

Chris Long and Gillian Winter 1995
With the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery's publication of the A-Z directory in 1995, Tasmanian photographers 1840-1940, authored by Chris Long and edited by Gillian Winter, the "belief" that A. H. Boyd was the photographer of the extant collection of 1870s Tasmanian prisoner mugshots appeared in print and is therefore difficult to eradicate, despite the caveats from authoritative reviewers such as curator Richard Neville (SLNSW), and co-authors of the 1992 entry on Nevin in Dictionary of Australian artists : painters, sketchers, photographers and engravers to 1870, Joan Kerr (University of Sydney) and Geoff Stilwell (State Library Tasmania). Former and current employees of the Port Arthur Heritage Site and the TMAG persist in regurgitating the "belief" in A. H. Boyd regardless of facts, and usually for personal advantage (e.g. Julia Clark 2010, 2013).

[Above:] p.36 of the TMAG publication (1995) where the writer Chris Long creates the furphy about A H Boyd as some sort of point-and-shoot Sunday amateur, while derogating Thomas Nevin as some sort of copyist, unaware of the extent of several professional photographers' activities at Port Arthur dating back to the mid 1860s - Alfred Bock, Samuel Clifford and Thomas Nevin in particular - or that Nevin's stamp on the versos of these mugshots was his government contractor's stamp and NOT one of his commercial stamps. Elsewhere, under "Convict photographs" he makes reference to Charles A. Woolley simply by assuming that a cdv by Woolley of A. H. Boyd was taken at the time Boyd was Commandant at Port Arthur, which it was not, it was taken ca. 1866 in Woolley's city studio. This misconception was no doubt encouraged by its donor to the TMAG, Mr. I. Boyd, in 1978, a year after the 1977 exhibition of these mugshots was held at the QVMAG in Nevin's name. See the first wooden-framed picture above where someone at the TMAG lovingly assembled a collage of four prisoner mugshots and placed Woolley's cdv of A. H. Boyd at the centre as the focal point of not just social power but also artistic creativity, surrounded by his imprisoned low-life subjects. The whole frame was constructed in the genre of family portraits, as a parlour picture for the middle-class gaze to be displayed on the walls of museums, and completed with a label on the back of the frame pronouncing Boyd as the photographer of "his" convicts in case anyone was incredulous enough to question the attribution.

Richard Neville's review (1997) of Tasmanian Photographers 1840-1940: A Directory contained these important observations on Chris Long's approach and judgement:
The entries of early photographers often have to be read in conjunction with Joan Kerr’s (ed.) The Dictionary of Australian Artists 1770- 1870 and [Davies & Stanbury’s 1986] Mechanical Eye as Long does not repeat its information. If Kerr and Davies are not simultaneously consulted then important information can be missed. As Long moves into the twentieth century he is forced to be more selective in the photographers he includes, so he lists only the “most notable” amateurs.

This is a potential and acknowledged problem: Long notes he had to make a judgment of the subjective worth of each photographer’s output, and he is much more prepared to offer aesthetic comments about the works of photographers than is Davies. To a certain extent this fairly minor point is the least satisfactory part of Tasmanian Photographers - his own preference for landscape photography is so obvious that one cannot help but be a little wary of his judgements. Indeed he says himself “Preferences and prejudices will be evident in some of my assessments of the work of Tasmanian photographers. These attitudes have evolved after lengthy consideration of the surviving photographs.” (p.x) Such an explicit admission of something that we all do is possibly refreshing, but it is also potentially problematic

Sometimes the entries are not clear. His important argument that Adolarious Boyd, the superintendent at Port Arthur, was the photographer of the well-known portraits of Port Arthur convicts rather than Thomas Nevin is not found in the Boyd entry, but rather under “convict photographs”. No “see also” reference is provided to that entry - rather one is given to Charles Woolley for whom one can see no obvious link. It would be very easy, therefore, to miss the substance of his argument. To a certain extent the book has the look of something produced by desktop publishing, and it seems to have the usual infelicities and typo’s of that genre. Editor Gillian Winter’s description of its publication history suggests that it was a difficult birth, and indeed she describes it as a “draft publication”, which is not altogether reassuring.
Source: Richard Neville, Curator of Australian Pictures at the Mitchell Library, Sydney: published online 3rd March, 1997, James Cook University Electronic Journal of Australian and New Zealand History.

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