# 32412

WATSON, John (attributed)

Two men in staged combat. Brisbane, late 1860s.

$1,900.00 AUD

Albumen print photograph, carte de visite format, 82 x 58 mm, mounted on section of a nineteenth-century album page; the print is in fine condition, and the mount is free from foxing.

Although Thomas Bevan, Daniel Marquis and Samuel Duesbury were also taking studio photographs of indigenous subjects in Brisbane during the 1860s and early 1870s, we have attributed this significant image to the photographer John Watson, who was active in Brisbane between 1862 and 1875. The attribution is based on the analysis of Watson’s photographs by Michael Aird in his chapter Aboriginal people and four early Brisbane photographers in Jane Lydon’s Calling the shots : Aboriginal photographies (see pp 138-140, specifically). The highly stylised and somewhat stilted composition – a tableau vivant featuring two men in staged combat, one with a raised weapon about to strike a prone adversary – is virtually a mirror image of the Watson carte de visite in the State Library of Queensland collection which is illustrated in Aird’s chapter as Figure 5 (ibid. p. 139). If that comparison is not conclusive in itself, then the fact that both images show the same spartan studio with bare floor and plain canvas backdrop, almost certainly is.