JOHNSTONE, O'SHANNESSY & CO.; CURTIS, James Waltham, colourist (attributed)
Miss Motherwell and Miss Champ (afterwards Lady Philp), bridesmaids to Fanny McGaw.
[Title from inscription on accompanying window mount]. [Melbourne. January, 1869]. Albumen print photograph overpainted in oils, carte de visite format, 102 x 62 mm (mount), verso with imprint of ‘Johnstone, O’Shannessy & Co., Artist Photographers, 3 Bourke St. East, Next the Post Office, Melbourne’; the print, including the overpainted sections, is in fine condition, while the mount has some light foxing to the verso; [together with] the carte’s original window mount bearing the nineteenth century inscription ‘Motherwell and Miss Champ (afterwards Lady Philp), bridesmaids to Fanny McGaw’.
A superb example of a colonial overpainted photographic portrait, done for a Melbourne society wedding at St. Peter’s Church of England in East Melbourne in the summer of 1868-69 by one of the city’s most exclusive studios. The overpainting was executed by a highly skilled colourist: the subtle “overstrokes” suggesting the folds and pleats on the bridesmaids’ dresses add a three-dimensional quality to the image.
For biographical information on the possible colourist, see the entry on James Waltham Curtis on DAAO.
From the marriage notices in The Argus, Melbourne, 7 January 1869: MARRIAGE. McGAW—McNEILL. —On the 6th inst., at St. Peter’s Church, by the Rev. H. H. P. Handfield, J. McGaw, Esq., of Burrabogie, New South Wales, to Frances Hayden, daughter of the late Hugh McNeill, Esq., of Annavale, County Antrim, Ireland.
From birth notices in The Argus, Melbourne, 4 June 1870: McGAW.—On the 2nd inst., at 7 Royal-terrace, Nicholson-street, the wife of J. McGaw, Esq., Burrabogie Station, N.S.W., of a daughter.