# 37044

MADELEY, Oswald Thomas (1832-1913)

[KELLY GANG] Studio portrait of a woman holding a carte de visite album. Warrnambool, Victoria, circa 1869.

$300.00 AUD

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Albumen print photograph, carte de visite format, 102 x 63 mm; recto of mount imprinted ‘Madeley, Photo. / Timor St. Warrnambool’; a strong print with excellent clarity, in very good condition (a small mark at bottom edge); the mount is clean and stable (verso is blank)..

A very rare example of a carte de visite from the early career of Oswald Madeley. 

Oswald Madeley is now remembered chiefly for the infamous photographs he took of the Kelly gang after their capture in June 1880, which included images of the charred remains of several of the bushrangers and their armour (Madeley filed these with the Melbourne Copyright Authority on 5 July 1880), and for his photographs depicting a reenactment of the Kelly saga, A Complete Series of Photographic Views in connection with the Kelly Outrages, which were sold by Arthur W. Burman in Melbourne.

Yet very little is known about Madeley’s early career as a photographic artist. In Kyneton during 1860 he was listed as a watchmaker and photographic artist in High Street, but in February 1861 he was declared insolvent. Later on, in Warrnambool, in Victoria’s southwest, he operated a studio in Timor Street during 1869 and the first months of 1870, but his business failed miserably and in May 1870, heavily in debt, he lost everything, including all his equipment and personal effects, to his creditors.

According to Trove, the State Library of Victoria holds one single example of a studio portrait taken by Madeley in his Timor Street studio, and that would appear to be the only example known in institutional collections. In fact, so short-lived and ignominious were Madeley’s early ventures into the world of commercial photography that there is not even a mention of his name in Davies & Stanbury (The Mechanical Eye in Australia).

Madeley quit Warrnambool and moved to Benalla in the northeast, where he seems to have dabbled in gold mining and perhaps earned a living as a watchmaker. There is no record of him practicing photography professionally at Benalla; and, although he is frequently referred to in secondary sources relating to the siege at Glenrowan as a ‘police photographer’, we can find no evidence that he was employed in this capacity. However, Madeley certainly owned a dry plate camera and used it to telling commercial effect at the end of June 1880, when he travelled from Benalla to nearby Glenrowan just in time to document, along with the Beechworth photographer Bray, the demise of the Kelly gang.

Madeley spent his final years at Corindhap, south of Ballarat, where he died in 1913.