# 37929

Photographer unknown.

The Australian Museum, Sydney, with staff outside including the Curator, Gerard Krefft. Circa 1868.

$1,800.00 AUD

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Albumen print photograph, 135 x 225 mm, no photographer’s imprint; laid down on its original mount of thin card, with a fully contemporary caption in pencil ‘Museum’ at bottom left; the print has exceptional clarity and rich tonal range; the mount has some silverfishing at top left and right, encroaching on the print very slightly at its upper right edge.

A remarkable early photographic view of the Australian Museum.

Based on the fashion worn by the people in the photograph, it can be dated with reasonable accuracy to the late 1860s, and certainly no later than 1870. The view shows what would have been the recently-opened Barnet Wing, designed by colonial architect Alexander Dawson in the Neo-Classical style, which opened to the public in 1868. This magnificent edifice still stands proudly as the Museum’s familiar facade on College Street today. Indeed, it is quite possible that the photograph was taken to mark the completion of the new wing.

In front of the steps at the very centre of the image stands a group of six men and one woman – members of the museum staff. We are confident in identifying the top-hatted and tailcoated gentleman on the far right of this group as Gerard Krefft, who was curator of the museum for thirteen years (1861-1874). Intriguingly, the tall figure closer to the camera and right of centre appears to be an Aboriginal man.

The photograph is perhaps attributable to Charles Percy Pickering, whose well known similar view of the Barnet Wing, taken from a vantage point a little further away on the north side of William Street, dates to around 1870.

No other example traced in Australian collections.