Sunday, November 29, 2015

Prisoner Henry CLABBY and the TMAG frame-up

PRISONER HENRY CLABBY
CHARLES A. WOOLLEY and A.H. BOYD
T.J. NEVIN'S PRISONER PORTRAITS at the TMAG
EXHIBITIONS and MISATTRIBUTIONS
CHRIS LONG and DAN SPROD

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.

POLICE GAZETTE RECORDS



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
CON94 TASMAN'S PENINSULA - CONDUCT REGISTERS, PORT ARTHUR.

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.



WRONG ATTRIBUTION to 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

NUMBERED IN THE HOBART GAOL PHOTOS BOOKS
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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