NEVIN & SMITH [Thomas NEVIN and Robert Smith]
Studio portrait of a young man. Hobart, January or February, 1868.
Albumen print photograph with hand colouring, carte de visite format, 102 x 62 mm (mount), verso imprinted ‘From Nevin & Smith, Late Bock’s, 140, Elizabeth Street, Hobart Town’ surmounted by the royal insignia of three ostrich feathers, coronet and the motto Ich Dien; both the print and mount are in fine condition.
A tinted full-length portrait of a young man.
Like several other Australian photographic studios of the time, including Townsend Duryea of Adelaide, Johnstone, O’Shannessy & Co. of Melbourne, and William Bradley of Sydney, the Hobart partnership of Thomas Nevin and Robert Smith associated their firm with the visit of Prince Alfred, the Duke of Edinburgh in 1867-68 by printing a special back mark for their cartes de visite. However, unlike those other studios, whose establishments the Prince visited to have his portrait taken, and were thus able to incorporate a ‘By Appointment to H.R.H. The Duke of Edinburgh’ formula into their imprint (thus adding an element of prestige to their business), Nevin and Smith employed a pictorial back mark, which placed the royal insignia (though of the Prince of Wales, not the Duke of Edinburgh) above their studio name and address. This scarce back mark would have been introduced by the firm to commemorate the Prince’s visit to Hobart in the Galatea in January, 1868. It could only have been in use for a short time, as Nevin and Smith’s partnership had been dissolved by the end of the following month.
A photograph album was presented to the Prince at his farewell reception in Hobart, which contained views of Tasmanian scenery as well as 48 portraits of children born in Tasmania. It is not known if the present portrait by Nevin & Smith was one of those included in the presentation album; and besides, would this strapping young man – albeit most likely still an adolescent – have met the selection criteria?