ALLEN, William H.
Photographic portrait of a Chinese woman in traditional dress, Melbourne, circa 1868
Albumen print photograph with hand colouring, carte de visite format, 101 x 63 mm (mount), verso with imprint of ‘Allen’s Photographic Institute, Nr. Victoria Parade, Collingwood, Melbourne’; the albumen print is in fine condition; the mount is clean, but has been trimmed at bottom margin, resulting in partial loss of the imprint ‘Allen, Photo., Collingwood’.
Nineteenth century photographs of members of Melbourne’s Chinese community seldom appear on the market. The examples that do – very occasionally – surface invariably record the sitter(s) in traditional Chinese dress. Interestingly, most of the examples of local Chinese-Australian portrait subjects we have handled – from various Melbourne, Bendigo, Sydney and Brisbane studios – have been hand coloured by a studio artist.
Davies & Stanbury (Mechanical Eye) list William H. Allen at his Collingwood premises only during the year 1868. His studio, on the city’s eastern edge, was only a few minutes’ walk along Victoria Parade from Spring Street, the eastern boundary of Chinatown.