# 42028

BATCHELDER, Benjamin Pierce

Pair of photographic portraits of a young Scottish immigrant family. Sandhurst (Bendigo), Victoria, 1866-67.

$120.00 AUD

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Two albumen print photographs, carte de visite format, in uniform 105 x 62 mm format (mounts); versos imprinted ‘Photographed by Batchelder, Pall Mall, Sandhurst’; rectos with fully contemporary inscriptions in ink identifying the four children by their first names, Jessie & Robert (with their father) and Willie & Mary (with their mother); both prints are in good condition (one with slight loss of contrast); the mounts are very clean.

Benjamin Pierce Batchelder was one of three American brothers from Boston who had been important pioneers of photography in Melbourne and, briefly, Sydney, during the 1850s. Davies and Stanbury (The Mechanical Eye in Australia) give the dates 1866-67 for Batchelder’s studio in Sandhurst (later Bendigo), on the central Victorian goldfields.

As this pair of cartes was sourced in Scotland, we are reasonably certain that the sitters belong to a young family of Scottish immigrants who would have arrived in Port Phillip during the gold rush, and that these little portraits were sent to family back home – primarily, to show them the likenesses of the children whom they had never met. Further research might well reveal the surname of the family.