# 34590

REID, Peter Laurie (1833-1911)

Quorn Hall, the residence of T. B. Clarke. Campbell Town, Tasmania, late 1860s.

$500.00 AUD

Albumen print photograph, carte de visite format, 62 x 102 mm (mount); verso with photographer’s manuscript in ink ‘Mr. Reid, Photographer’; the print appears to be one of Reid’s own copy prints, rather than having been made from the original negative; in fine condition.

At the time this rare photograph of Quorn Hall was taken – probably around 1867 or 1868 – the property was being managed by Thomas Biggs Clarke (1832-1878), second son of William John Turner Clarke (1805-1874). Note in the lower right foreground the wild deer and an alpaca, and at lower left, an emu; in what is a very early example of photomontage in Australia, Reid added these to embellish his view, supplying them from a photograph of artist Henry Gritten’s 1861 view of the Palladian Quorn Hall residence, in which these creatures appear in the foreground.

The Archives Office of Tasmania holds a Peter Laurie Reid carte de visite of Quorn Hall (Photographic Carte-De-Visite Collection, NS1442 – not viewable online) which is presumably the same view as the one we offer here. We have not been able to trace any other example of this splendid view of Quorn Hall in Australian collections.

W. J. T. Clarke had arrived in Tasmania with his wife Eliza (née Dowling) in 1830. He took up land first in Tasmania, and later in Victoria, and was responsible for introducing Leicester sheep into Australia. W. J. T. Clarke’s wealth, acquired through land ownership and the wool industry, is legendary; later in life he is reputed to have been the wealthiest man in Australia. In 1846 he purchased the property Quorn Hall, near Campbell Town, but after his move to Victoria he placed the management of the estate, together with that of a property called Brambletye, on the South Esk River, in the hands of his son, Thomas Biggs.

Thomas’s older brother, on the other hand, followed in their father’s footsteps in Victoria: he was the notable pastoralist, landowner, stud-breeder and philanthropist Sir William John Clarke (1831-1897), owner of the famous mansion Rupertswood, near Sunbury; while his younger brother, Joseph Clarke (1834-1895), became governor of the Colonial Bank in Melbourne and lived in the magnificent Toorak residence, Mandeville Hall.

An obituary for Thomas Biggs Clarke, of Quorn Hall, appeared in the Mercury (Hobart), on 24 December 1878:

‘One of the leading sporting men of the colony has passed away during the month, in the person of Mr. Thomas Biggs Clarke, who expired at his residence, Quorn Hull, on the 11th instant, after a protracted illness. Mr. Clarke was the son of one of the earliest Tasmanian colonists, Mr W. J. T. Clarke, formerly of Hobart Town, but more recently of Victoria, where he removed some few years before his death, and where his other sons, the Hon W. J. Clarke, M.L.C., of Sunbury, and Mr Joseph Clarke of Toorak, (late of Norton Mandeville, Tasmania) now reside. The deceased was a native of Tasmania, and was about 45 years of age at the time of his death. His only education was received at Mr. Thompson’s School, Hobart Town, where he was a schoolfellow of the hon John Lord, and other well-known Tasmanians; afterwards he went to England to finish, as all the brothers did. He was married to a daughter of Mr. Henrie Nicholas, of Cawood, near Hamilton, and leaves several children, who are well provided for by the elder Mr. Clarke’s will, a large sum having been left to each. The deceased has for a number of years resided at Quorn Hall, and has been intimately connected with the sporting events of the colony. The large Park was well stocked with deer, and the Quorn Hall hounds are a household word in Tasmania. He was the owner of a large quantity of blood stock and valuable sheep. The chief circle, however, in which he was known was the racing world, and his four-in-hand was always one of the sights of our great race meetings. He was not only a racer but a breeder of horses, and the imported sire Horror, which recently died, was located at Quorn Hull, where there were also a large number of really valuable brood mares of various very old strains of blood. Fingal, the well known Victorian-bred cross-country horse, and the flat racers Canezou, Yougogo, Sir John Moore, and King Arthur, all of which are now in training, were Mr. Clarke’s property. He was well liked in racing circles as an enthusiastic and straight-going sportsman. The body was brought by train to Hobart Town on Saturday, 14th instant, and was interred in the Sandy Bay Cemetery. A large number of his friends in the city followed the remains to the grave. None of the Victorian relatives of the deceased were present, his mother having also died during the week, and her funeral taking place in Melbourne on the same day.’

A note on the Photographer, Peter Laurie Reid (1833-1911):

From the DAAO:

‘Peter Laurie Reid, … professional photographer, was apparently named after Sir Peter Laurie, lord mayor of London, by his father James Reid, a builder. Peter Laurie Reid, who was married to a daughter of H.W. and Sarah Seabrook, kept a store and post office at 172 Elizabeth Street, Hobart Town, from at least 1852 until 1862 when he sold the shop and opened a registry office at 44 Murray Street. On 18 June 1863 this was for sale. He then set up the photographic business of P.L. Reid & Co., initially in partnership with Matthew Patrick Dowling; they advertised for an apprentice for the photographic business on 29 July 1864. Later that year Reid and Dowling parted on unfriendly terms and subsequently conducted a bitter debate in the Hobart Town press. Dowling complained in the Hobart Town Advertiser of 5 September 1864 that ‘a large number of card portraits taken by him’ were still on show at Reid & Co. Reid replied to this ‘consummate impudence’ the following day, explaining that Dowling’s portraits were ‘only on show to display their inferiority to those taken by P.L. Reid & Co.’s double card process’, adding that in any case many of Dowling’s photographs had been taken by Dowling’s brother Paul when in partnership with Sharp. A lively exchange of public insults followed, with the principals adopting the sobriquets ‘Federal Dowling’ and ‘Confederate Reid’. An ‘apology’ from Reid to Dowling was published on 14 October but this did not conclude the quarrel. Reid was still writing long rejoinders in the Advertiser on 28 October.

At the end of 1864 Reid & Co. advertised portraits of Colonel and Mrs Gore Browne (the governor and his wife) and Rev. J.W. Simmons for sale. By June 1865, when advertising had everywhere become more aggressive, his firm was offering every sitter a portrait photograph at no cost. This was not, of course, quite the bargain it seemed. The first carte-de-visite was free provided that at least four were purchased; the others cost 1s 6d each. Nevertheless, the offer generated a great deal of publicity even in other colonies and presumably gained him some extra business if no long-term financial security. In September 1865 Reid changed the name of his company to the London Portrait Gallery and moved back to his former premises at 172 Elizabeth Street. In August 1866 he was promoting the sale of photographs through his ‘Great Christmas Gift Club scheme’, but by December the property was for sale. Early the following year Reid moved to Launceston, opened another photographic portrait gallery and worked as a travelling photographer. In December 1868 he had ‘four hundred views from all parts of the island’ for sale at his Launceston gallery. By 1878 he was at Latrobe, near Devonport, and his Launceston studios had been taken over by G. Padman. Surviving cartes-de-visite views of Launceston (1860s, Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales, Sydney) are of a high standard.’