# 36662

[JONES, John H., 1817?-1872]

Goulburn punt at Seymour.

$450.00 AUD

[Title from manuscript caption on mount]. [1862]. Stereoscopic albumen print photograph, each individual image 74 x 73 mm (arched-top format), on pink card mount 83 x 175 mm; recto of mount with original manuscript inscription in ink at bottom margin Goulburn Punt at Seymour; both prints have rich tonal range and excellent clarity; the mount has a pale water stain at the left-hand edge (not affecting the print), and the original Scots-Australian owner’s name McMillan in pencil on the back.

This early Victorian stereoscopic view was taken by travelling photographer John H. Jones, prior to September 1862 (see below). The image is reproduced on page 113 of the Bendigo Art Gallery’s 2013 exhibition catalogue of Jones’ stereoscopic views, Her Majesty’s Territories: Stereographic Views of Australian Sceneries (essay by Alva Maguire). Note that the present example is on a variant plain mount that most likely predates the BAG’s views, which all have the imprint Jones’s Photographs of Australian Sceneries. The State Library of Victoria (Accession no: H2017.75/77) holds the glass negative of this stereoscopic view – the only other example in Australian institutional collections.

Although the biographical information we have for John H. Jones (1817?-1872) is only sketchy, newspaper advertisements and articles from late 1862 and 1863 give a very clear idea of his modus operandi as photographic entrepreneur. At this time he was selling his images in organised exhibitions and Art Unions in regional Victorian towns such as Bendigo, Castlemaine, Ballarat and Geelong, as well as in Melbourne itself.

From The Argus, Melbourne, 23 September 1862:

‘Proofs are daily offered that Victoria contains Scenery very much more beautiful than is generally supposed, even by those who have resided longest in it. Mr Chevalier and Mr Guerard have done much by their excellent landscapes, painted in the “Wild Wood” and by the Shore, to show that our scenery is by no means tame and uninteresting; and a fine Series of Stereoscopic Pictures, taken lately by Mr J.H. Jones, of St. Kilda, while on a professional tour, will assist greatly in raising the colony to her proper place in this respect. As Photographs for the Stereoscope, the pictures are admirably executed, and the variety they present is very great, and all are very interesting. This series, if circulated In England, would remove many erroneous impressions from the minds of the people at home as to Australian Scenery.’

From The Star, Ballarat, 26 January 1863:

‘Mr John H. Jones is now exhibiting at Bath’s Hotel a very extensive series of photographs of Australian scenery, intended for minute inspection by aid of the stereoscope. The views have been taken by Mr Jones during a protracted tour throughout the colony; and, while they are highly creditable to his skill as a photographer and indicate no small amount of industry, they, make us aware that Victoria is by no means so devoid of picturesque scenery as some people would have us believe. Mr Jones proposes to dispose of his photographs on the Art Union principle– three hundred prizes, three hundred members, and two thousand five hundred and sixty views. In order to induce the fullest patronage, Mr Jones has arranged that no member shall receive, a prize much below the, value of his subscription, while he has the chance of obtaining one of nineteen prizes each worth more than six times as much, and of one prize estimated at the value of twenty pounds. The photographs are arranged on a revolving apparatus, by which arrangement they can readily be viewed through the aid of the stereoscope, the whole forming a very desirable appendage to the drawing-room. It is seldom that we have the opportunity of directing the attention of readers to schemes so well worthy of support’.

From the Mount Alexander Mail, 25 March 1863:

‘Stereoscopic Views.-— Mr Jones continues to exhibit his excellent stereoscopic Views of Australian Scenery at Bignell’s Hotel. His Art Union has been very successful, but Mr Jones will remain in Castlemaine till the end of the week, in order to give the public a full opportunity to possess themselves of those views which they may desire to retain, or which they may wish to send to their friends in England. The series of views are of the most interesting and artistic character’.

From the Bendigo Advertiser, 1 April 1863:

‘PHOTOGRAPHS of Australian Scenery. Our local readers will remember the visit to Castlemaine, some months ago, of a photographic artist, Mr Jones, whose views of this locality were so much in request. Since then, Mr Jones has made an extensive tour, extending as far northwards as Deniliquin, and has returned with a collection of stereoscopic views of Australian scenery, superior to anything of the kind before attempted in this colony. His portfolio includes about one hundred and twenty scenes of towns, mountains, rocks, rivers, punts, and bridges, the views of our waterfalls, caves, digging-operations, tents, and log-huts, carriers camping for the night, photographed at meal-time, and the wearied traveller in the bush sleeping at night in his lonely Mia Mia, &c.. The highest testimony has already been given as to the excellence of these views, in choice of subject and treatment. We have had the pleasure of inspecting them, and readily and sincerely endorse the praises they have elicited. We understand that the object of Mr Jones’ present visit to Castlemaine is to dispose of copies by Art Union, or by private sale. The views may be inspected at the Shamrock Hotel and all persons who are ignorant of tlie character of Australian scenery will be specially surprised by its marvellous beauties. The Art Union takes place at the Shamrock Hotel, 11th April, 1863. Every Subscriber gets a Prize, and the lowest prize will be Six Views of Australian Scenery.’

This stereoview was part of a larger group of stereoscopic photographs sourced in Melbourne, all of which were originally acquired by a Scots-Australian named McMillan; all of the backs bear his discreet ownership signature in pencil. We believe this is likely to be Dr. Thomas Law McMillan, who received his medical degree from the University of Edinburgh in 1850 and then made his way to Australia via America, working his passage as a ship’s surgeon. He arrived in Port Phillip in February 1853 during the early phase of the first Australian gold rush. After a period seeking his fortune on the Central Victorian goldfields, McMillan returned to medicine and worked as a doctor in Geelong and Melbourne, where he became President of the Medical Society of Victoria. These facts provide a plausible explanation as to why so many of the subjects of the stereoscopic photographs McMillan acquired – presumably on a visit home to Edinburgh in the second half of the 1850s – were, in the main, prominent Scottish figures in the fields of medicine and science. Furthermore, the Australian stereoscopic views from the same collection, similarly inscribed McMillan, date from the early 1860s and are mostly of Central Victorian goldfields subjects, a fact which also neatly dovetails with the Thomas Law McMillan hypothesis.