# 4051


Three photographic portraits by the early amateur photographer James Musgrove, Bulla homestead, 1867

$2,750.00 AUD

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Three albumen print photographs, carte de visite format, each 102 x 64 mm; two are inscribed verso in ink in Musgrove's own hand: 'Photo by Jas. Musgrove, Bulla May/67'; the third is also inscribed by Musgrove and dated 'Feb/67'. The albumen prints have a few light marks and some very mild foxing, but are in a very good state of preservation.

The Victorian amateur photographer and inventor James Musgrove is not listed in Mechanical Eye (Davies and Stanbury), even though other amateur photographers such as Joseph and Ernest Docker and George Fordyce Story are included in that work. A late nineteenth century photograph by Musgrove of the creamery at Oaklands is held in the collection of the State Library of Victoria; otherwise, there appear to be no other extant copies of his photographs recorded in Australian collections. The quality of these three extremely rare, early portraits belies Musgrove's 'non-professional' status. The subjects in these wonderful compositions, most likely family members or neighbouring station owners, are photographed in Musgrove's 'home studio' setting at Bulla, north of Melbourne, in front of a hand drawn backdrop with a Classical architecture theme, probably created by Musgrove himself. Although he was a farmer, but was also deeply interested in science and technology, and is known to have applied for patents for several agricultural implements.