Sunday, November 5, 2017

Thomas Nevin and the Terpsichoreans, New Norfolk 1867

WORKING MEN'S CLUB
TERPSICHOREANS 1867 New Norfolk and 1868 Rosny
VALLEYFIELD Shoobridge Estate



Title:Photograph - Paddle Steamer, 'Monarch'
ADRI: NS1013/1/238
Source: Archives Office of Tasmania
Series: Photographs and glass plate negatives collected by E R Pretyman (NS1013)

Disambiguation: Charles Nevins and Thomas Nevin+s
Charles Nevins was a miner who operated at the Fingal Gold Fields in north-east Tasmania from 1859 to 1863. See this list of newpapers items (123 articles at Trove tagged Nevins, Charles.. He was no relation to the family of photographer Thomas J. Nevin. However, in the early to mid 1860s, Thomas Nevin designed a studio stamp to advertise his business by adding "s" to his surname, viz. "Thomas Nevins, New Town Tasmania", omitting the inferred possessive apostrophe, which would appear when applied to the full expression, e.g. "Thomas Nevin's Photographic Studio, New Town". This rare example of the stamp is held at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery:



Verso of photograph below:
"Long shadow with guard at the entrance to St John's Avenue, New Town"
Photos recto and verso copyright © KLW NFC Imprint 2014-2015
TMAG Collection Ref: Q1990.22.4



"Long shadow with guard at the entrance to St John's Avenue, New Town"
Photos recto and verso copyright © KLW NFC Imprint 2014-2015
TMAG Collection Ref: Q1990.22.4

Untitled in the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery collection, this example by Thomas Nevin of a popular and much photographed vista of the Queen's Orphan School and St John's Church, New Town Tasmania, could be captioned "Long shadow with guard at the entrance to St John's Avenue, New Town". Its uniqueness as an artefact is the very rare studio stamp on the verso.This is the only extant example (to date) of Thomas Nevin's earliest photography which bears the design with the wording "Thomas Nevins New Town Tasmania" set against a ribbon in three flat loops, enfolding a flowering plant, and printed in bright blue ink. Thomas Nevin was barely out of his teens when he took this photograph, still a bachelor, and living with his parents in the house built by his father John Nevin next to the Lady Franklin Museum at Kangaroo Valley (New Town, Hobart, Tasmania.)

The wording on this unique stamp is typical of commercial branding; the prospective client would know from common speech that "Photographic Studio" are the missing words, and no generic apostrophe denoting possession was necessary or even grammatically logical because of the omission, viz. Nevin's (? what?). Comparative usage today goes unnoticed, eg. Myers, Woolworths, Coles, and Harrods, are the founding family surnames of large retailers where both the apostrophe before the "s" and the thing of possession have been dropped. The American department store, Macy's is a notable exception.

The stamp was devised around 1863 at Thomas Nevin's studio in New Town (Hobart) prior to his acquisition of Alfred Bock's stock, studio and glass house at 140 Elizabeth St. Hobart in 1867 when he continued to use Bock's stamp design, modified to include his own name, "T. Nevin" adding "Late A. Bock". During his brief partnership with Robert Smith, 1867-68, he designed another set of labels and stamps, eg. "Nevin & Smith".without an "s" on the end of his name. The stamp designed for work produced after 1867 from his New Town studio also dropped the "s" from his name. That more usual New Town stamp with the wording "Thos Nevin New Town" printed inside a paper scoll appears on the versos of dozens of stereographs taken during his partnership with Samuel Clifford in the late 1860s to the mid 1870s.



Detail of versos below: the scroll design

Thomas Nevin continued to use this later design when he returned to commercial photography at his New Town studio in 1881 after his four years as a civil servant working for the Municipal Police Office as photographer and the Hobart City Corporation as Office and Hall Keeper at the Hobart Town Hall.



New Town Public School
Stereograph by Thomas J. Nevin ca, 1870
TMAG Collection Ref: 16826.27
Taken at the TMAG, 10 Nov. 2014
Photos copyright © KLW NFC 2014 ARR



Verso: New Town Public School
Stereograph by Thomas J. Nevin ca, 1870
TMAG Collection Ref: 16826.27
Photos copyright © KLW NFC 2014 ARR



Hobart from Lime Kiln Hill looking down Harrington Street
Stereograph by Thomas Nevin ca. late 1860s-1870
New Town studio stamp on verso
TMAG Ref: Q1994.56.30



Verso: Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery Database Ref: Q1994.56.30
Description : Photograph, sepia salt paper stereoscope:
MAKER: Thomas Nevin [photographer];
TITLE: '[Hobart from Lime Kiln Hill looking down Harrington Street; St Mary's, Warwick Street, West Hobart]'
ITEM DATE: 1870s
IMAGE CONTENT: view townscape; .
Size : Mount buff coloured 85 x 173mm Images (2) 73 x 70mm [images rounded at top]
Inscriptions and marks : On back handwritten in pencil: a Pedder and stamped Thos Nevin/ Newtown

So, in July 1867, when Thomas Nevin placed this advertisement in the Tasmanian Times, printed on 20th July, 1867, he was no longer using his business name "Thomas NEVINS New Town", simply "T. NEVIN, New Town" viz:



Source: The Tasmanian Times (Hobart Town, Tas. : 1867 - 1870) Sat 20 Jul 1867 Page 1 Advertising

TRANSCRIPT
PORTRAITS, RESIDENCES, MONUMENTS, Tombstones, Stereoscopic and Album Views, photographed by –
T. NEVIN,
New Town.
N.B.— Album and Stereoscopic Views
on sale at New Town Post Office, where a
Specimen Case can be seen.
However, a few months later, in December 1867, when he accompanied a group of excursionists from the Working Men's Club for an all-day picnic at Shoobridge's estate, New Norfolk, the journalist from the Tasmanian Times reported that "Mr. Nevins [sic] took three photographic views"  of  "football, foot races, kiss in the ring etc. [which]  occupied the young folks for some time in a large paddock near the house".  Having dropped the "s" on the end of "Nevin"  well before 1867, it has appeared again in this report. There was another photographer working in Hobart called Mr. Nevin - Thomas Nevin's younger brother John (William John, known as Jack to the family) Nevin (1852-1891) who was his older brother's novice assistant at the New Town studio, and at the Hobart Gaol, Campbell Street, when John Nevin joined the police force ca. 1875. Because there were two brothers in the business at New Town in the early 1860s, it probably made sense to them that they called the business "Thomas Nevins".

1867 at New Norfolk



Source: Tasmanian Times (Hobart Town, Tas. : 1867 - 1870), Saturday 28 December 1867, page 3

TRANSCRIPT
WORKING MEN'S CLUB EXCURSION TO NEW NORFOLK
Yesterday the steamer Monarch, specially chartered by the Working Men's Club, conveyed between 300 and 400 excursionists to New Norfolk. This was the order of the day. An excellent brass band performed a variety of dance music on the bridge, and a number of indefatigable votaries of Terpsichore tripped it away "on the light fantastic toe" throughout the whole of the upward voyage. New Norfolk was reached by about  ½ past 12. The majority of the excursionists proceeded at once to Valleyfield, the beautiful seat of Mr. Shoobridge, who kindly threw open his grounds to the visitors, and supplied all and sundry with hot new potatoes and green peas fruit and tea. Pic-nic parties were soon formed in all directions under the trees, and everybody seemed thoroughly to enjoy Mr. Shoobridge's genial hospitality. After refreshment the band summoned the company to the hop-room, where dancing was kept up for nearly a couple of hours. After this football, foot races, kiss in the ring etc. occupied the young folks for some time in a large paddock near the house, during which Mr. Nevins [sic] took three photographic views of the animated scene. We regret to state that an accident which might have proved serious, occurred during the day. In descending the wooden steps leading to the hop-room, a lady missed her footing and fell to the ground, some 12 or 15 feet, on her head, receiving several cuts and contusions on the face. The sufferer received every possible attention from Mrs. Shoobridge, and mainly owing, under Providence, to that excellent lady's assistance and succour was enabled to return to town by the steamer. On the homeward voyage, the excursionists were overtaken above Bridgewater by a violent squall of wind and rain, which damped for a time the ardour of their enjoyment. But as soon as the rain ceased, dancing was resumed once more, and "all went merry as a marriage peal." Mr. Henry Dobson, the secretary of the Working Men's Club, was unremitting in his exertions to promote the harmony and hilarity of the excursion; and with the drawbacks just mentioned, the whole trip was a very enjoyable success.
Source: Tasmanian Times (Hobart Town, Tas. : 1867 - 1870), Saturday 28 December 1867, page 3

If this report is at all accurate, these excursionists danced up a storm. They never stopped. They danced on the bridge, accompanied by a brass band, whatever bridge that may have been, and they danced non-stop on board the Monarch steaming its way up the River Derwent until they reached their destination. Once at Shoobridge's, they continued dancing non-stop for hours in the hop room, and then moved out to the paddock where they not only danced, they played a game called "kiss in the ring" [?]. On the homeward journey, aboard the Monarch, their dancing reached fever-pitch - or, as the reporter phrased it, "all went merry as a marriage peal".  The merriment of the New Norfolk excursionists was captured by Thomas Nevin with three photographs, according to the newspaper report, so where are the photographs now? The only extant photograph of dancers identified as Thomas Nevin's  is this one, printed as a stereograph on a buff mount, and labelled verso with the firm's name -
Tasmanian Views from Nevin & Smith Photographers, 140, Elizabeth -St., Hobarton. Stereoscopic, and Album Portraits. Views Photographed.Views of Residence, Tombstones copied, Terms - Cheap!
Unlike another extant photograph (of a house at Kangaroo Valley, New Town) bearing verso the label of Nevin & Smith - where Nevin has crossed out the name "Smith" and written above it "Late" as well as crossing out the "s" on "photographers" - this label has not been amended, so it can be assumed that Smith was still in partnership with Nevin when it was ready for sale and that the photographs - this and the other (missing) two were printed within days of the excursion, in early January 1868. Thomas Nevin's partner Robert Smith left soon after for Goulburn NSW where he opened a studio. Their partnership as Nevin & Smith was dissolved by the Nevin family solicitor, Attorney-General, the Hon. W. R. Giblin on 26th February, 1868.



Stereograph by Nevin & Smith of groups seated and dancing in a circle , 28 December 1867 or  27 May 1868?
Verso label: Tasmanian Views from Nevin & Smith .... plus Tombstones copied, Terms - Cheap!"
Photos recto and verso copyright © KLW NFC Imprint 2014-2015
Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery,  TMAG Ref: Q1994.56.20.1



Verso: Stereograph by Nevin & Smith of groups seated and dancing in a circle , 28 December 1867 or  27 May 1868?
Verso label: Tasmanian Views from Nevin & Smith .... plus Tombstones copied, Terms - Cheap!"
Photos recto and verso copyright © KLW NFC Imprint 2014-2015
Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery,  TMAG Ref: Q1994.56.20.1

Perhaps all groups of dancers were called "Terpsichoreans" or was it the same group who danced their way to New Norfolk on 28th December 1867 who also " danced incessantly until about 5 o'clock" at Rosny, across from Hobart on the eastern shore of the River Derwent, to celebrate a public holiday in honour of Queen Victoria's birthday, 28th May, 1868.  Thomas Nevin may have photographed that same group, female members of which wore a dark short top coat over a white dress, while the men wore a striking white hat with a wide brim, floppy crown and black band. During that summer of 1867-1868 he took the first photographs of his fiancée  Elizabeth Rachel Day.




TRANSCRIPT
ROSNY.
A number of people yesterday took advantage of the holiday to pass a few hours at Rosny, where arrangements had been made for their amusement. A race between two skiffs, for £4 a side, took place, and appeared to be watched with considerable interest by the spectators. A brass band which had been engaged discoursed sweet music,  to which the Terpsichoreans danced incessantly until about 5 o'clock, when the steamer made her last trip to Hobart Town. A very pleasant afternoon was spent, the only interruption to the general harmony being caused by the conduct of several young "roughs," who terminated their disgraceful proceedings by a general fight on board the boat.
Source: CELEBRATION OF HER MAJESTY'S BIRTHDAY. (1868, May 28). The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved January 24, 2015, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article8852443

ADDENDA



Title:Photograph - Paddle Steamer, 'Monarch'
ADRI: NS1013/1/238
Source: Archives Office of Tasmania
Series: Photographs and glass plate negatives collected by E R Pretyman (NS1013)

NOTES
Lantern slide of the Monarch which was 69 ton iron paddle steamer built in Scotland in 1846. She sailed to Hobart as a schooner with her paddle wheel stored in her hull in 1855. She was soon doing regular runs to New Norfolk as well as pleasure cruises. On one occasion she took a load of residents with picks and spades to Betsey Island after a rumour circulated that gold had been found. In the 1950s her rotting hull was buried when New Town Bay was filled and made into sports grounds (Maritime Museum of Tasmania). 
MONARCH 128 gross tons, 69 net. Lb: 126'8" x 16'. Paddle Steamer built by Barr & McNab West Renfrew, for James Henderson & Alexander McKellar, Glasgow. Propulsion: steam steeple-type 60hp. Engines by Barr & McNab. 1854 Daniel Brown & Thomas Thompson, Hobart. 1856 Ed Luttrell & F H Wise. Status: Deleted from Register - 1897 Remarks: Register closed 1897 - after several years laid up,  her remains were still identifiable in New Town Bay, Hobart in 1950s (Flotilla Australia).
This photogaph was taken of Shoobridge's new octagonal kiln built at Bushy Park (Tas) in 1868.



Title Hop kiln "Bushy Park", [Tasmania] [picture]
Call Number PIC/8793/11 LOC Album 245c
Created/Published [ca. 1875]
Extent 1 photograph : albumen ; 11.5 x 17.5 cm., in album 37.5 x 36.5 cm.
National Library of Australia

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