# 34174

FREEMAN, William (1809–1895)

Studio portrait of Lieutenant Count Frederick Cosmeto Metaxa of HMS Clio, Flagship of the Pacific Station. Sydney, 1872.

$240.00 AUD

  • Ask a question

Albumen print photograph, carte de visite format, 105 x 63 mm (mount); recto with a fully contemporary caption in ink beneath the image: ‘Fredk. Metaxa’; verso imprinted ‘Freeman, late Oswald Allen. Artist Photographer. Crayon & Miniature Painter. 360 George Street, Sydney. Terms Cash on Delivery. Photographer by Appointment to His Excellency the Governor’; the print has some mottling in the negative and a touch of foxing, but is otherwise very clean, as is the mount.

A notice in the Sydney Morning Herald, Tuesday 23 April 1872, announced that ‘Mr. Freeman’ (i.e. William Freeman) had removed from his premises at 320 George Street and taken over Oswald Allen’s former studio at 360 George Street – a large building which had once housed Anderson’s music warehouse and was now home to several smaller businesses. This is one year earlier than the date given by Davies & Stanbury (The Mechanical Eye in Australia), who state that Freeman was active at this address from 1873 until 1879.

A well-known photograph by Charles Pickering of HMS Clio – Flagship of the Pacific Station between September 1870 and October 1873 – riding at anchor in Farm Cove, was probably taken during the ship’s visit to Sydney in June 1872. We know that ‘Count Frederick C. Metaxa (Lieut. R.N.)’ was one of the officers from HMS Clio who attended a levee given by the Governor, Sir Hercules Robinson, at Government House, Sydney, at 3 o’clock in the afternoon on Tuesday, 4 June 1872 (The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser, 8 June 1872). It is quite possible that Metaxa visited Freeman’s studio in George Street to have his portrait taken in full dress uniform, before making his way across to Government House for this important official function.

Count Frederick Cosmeto Metaxa (1847-1910) was born in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, to Gian-Battista (Jean-Baptiste) Metaxa, Conte Metaxa, of Corinthia House, Cheltenham (1806-1875) and Selina Jane Rancliffe Barrow, Countess Metaxa (1814-1869). His father, Jean-Baptiste Metaxa, was born in 1806 in the Ionian Islands, then part of the French Empire. He was the son of Count Spyridon Metaxa, whose title had been conferred in 1691 when the islands were part of the Venetian Republic, and his wife from the Valsamachi family. After the islands became part of the British Empire in 1815, the British authorities recognised his title. He emigrated to England, where he resided at Corinthia House, Cheltenham.

Having joined the Royal Navy as an adolescent, young Count Frederick became a Sub-Lieutenant in 1866. He won promotion to Lieutenant in June 1869, following outstanding service on HMS Zealous, which at the time was Flagship of the Pacific Station. He was then transferred to the Station’s new Flagship, HMS Clio (1870-73). In December 1877, after his return to England, he married Blanche Priscilla Harris (1857-1943), daughter of Captain Robert Harris, RN. Frederick’s long and distinguished naval career was crowned with a promotion to the rank of Vice-Admiral in 1905.