April 7 - 13, 2019: Issue 400


Photographers of early Pittwater: Henry King

No 330. 'Long Reef Sydney Coast, Pittwater - Manly Road' - this is actually Bungan Beach looking south towards Mona Vale and Long Reef from Bushranger's Hill. by Henry King, circa 1880. The enlarged sections shows what was called the 'Black Swamp' at M.V.

Note the Telegraph poles and wire - A Telegraph apparatus was established at Barrenjoey in the Customs Station in 1869, the first Telegraph Officer being Customs (waiter) Officer Albert Thomas Black - it's main purpose being, as stated then, "to record and report shipping entering or leaving the Hawkesbury Pittwater - and report any wrecks", as well as keep an eye out for any potential smugglers, although these had been curtailed since the establishment of the Customs Station. Many of the reports from Barrenjoey also referred to weather conditions - listing vessels in Pittwater and staying there for shelter.

Photo from and courtesy the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS)- which houses over 1000 Henry King Images.

Henry King (1855?-1923), photographer, was born at Swanage, Dorset, England, eldest son of William Isaac King, stonemason, and his wife Eliza, née Toms. Swanage is a seaside town in The Isle of Purbeck. Dorset  is 10 miles S.E. of Wareham. Since Roman times Swanage was the centre of the local stone industry becoming a quarry town and harbour from which Purbeck marble was shipped.

Henry King arrived aboard the Kate in Sydney on December 23rd 1856 as a two year old, his parents were 22 and both could read and write:


THE arrival of the Kate, from Plymouth, with Government immigrants, will afford a temporary relief to the late very great scarcity of country labour. The immigrants are classified as follows: 49 married couples, 105 single men, 62 single women, and 47 children. In the early part of the week, the rates going were, in some cases, slightly in advance of the previous week.

OLIVER STAINES, British and Foreign Labour Agent.

December 26. 73, corner of King and Castlereagh streets.

ENGAGEMENTS have been limited in consequence of its being a holiday week. Orders for country servants continue plentiful. There has been one arrival (the Kate) with 300 immigrants of a mixed class. The harvest, now drawing to a close will cause reaction in the supply of labour. The inhabitants of Sydney have been much inconvenienced in regard to female servants, the demand is great, and those for hire very few. Wages remain firm at quoted rates.

J. C. GLUE, Labour Agent,

December 26. 48, Pitt-street North.

SYDNEY LABOUR MARKET. (1856, December 27). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article12990560 

His parents had more children - all born in Sydney NSW BDM's Records:


As a lad worked with the Sydney photographer J. Hubert Newman, serving an apprenticeship. John Hubert Newman was born in Sydney, the son of a Master Builder. His brother, E.O. Newman, worked with him as a portraitist and colourist in the 1870s and he employed other studio assistants and apprentices to take and colour photographs (and possibly paint portraits), including John Hood and Henry King.

On 27 November 1878 he married Elizabeth Laing (born 1857 to Robert and Racheal Laing) in Sydney with Congregational forms. Elizabeth's father was also a stonemason.

KING—LAING.—November 27, by the Rev. Thomas Johnson, Henry King, of Paddington, to Elizabeth Laing, of Surry Hills, Sydney. Family Notices (1878, December 14). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13426225

There are four children recorded in NSW BDM's:


In 1878 King established a photographic studio at 330 George Street in partnership with William Joseph Slade and by May 1882 was sole proprietor when Slade departed to set up a studio at Newcastle. 

Advertising (1878, December 16). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 7. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13426286

Advertising (1880, May 5). The Singleton Argus and Upper Hunter General Advocate (NSW : 1874 - 1880), p. 3. Retrieved  from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article82896091

For the rest of his life he worked from studios in George Street, although much of his reputation was derived from work done outside - his brilliant landscapes.

He travelled extensively throughout New South Wales and Queensland photographing the landscapes and aborigines. In addition to enlargements he provided lantern slides and stereoviews and even marketed the works of other photographers, including those who had travelled as missionaries to nearby islands. (See Missionary photographers in the Pacific Islands: Divine light VL Webb - History of photography, 1997 - Taylor & Francis and  F. H. Dufty in Fiji, 1871–92: The social role of a colonial photographer. Brigitte d'Ozouville, 1997. Pages 32-41 | Published online: 19 Jan 2015)


A cinematograph exhibition was given by Mr. J. B. Wakely before the members of the Photographic Union of N.S.W. and also a number of prominent city residents at the Photographic Society's rooms, Hunter-street, last evening. The machine used was specially selected for Mr. Wakely in London, and contains the latest improvements. Mr. Wakley was so please with the various trials during the past week that he decided to submit the working of the machine to the criticism of the photographic and electrical societies of Sydney, who accordingly invited Mr. Wakely to show at their rooms last evening. Apart from the cinematograph exhibition, Mr. Wakely showed a series of beautiful lantern slides upon the screen by a powerful optical lantern. The series contained a collection of the famed Mount Kosciusko snow scenes, taken by Mr. C. H. Kerry, of Kerry and Co. ; also a series of New Guinea views, taken by Mr. Henry King. AMUSEMENTS. (1897, March 9). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article14110861

The above referred to New Guinea images were taken by Reverend W.G. Lawes of people and scenes photographed in New Guinea and islands of the Pacific.

King, however, composed his portraits differently. Rather than placing them in a scene, each portrait was a head and upper-body composition with a blank background. They are totally removed from any context, allowing the viewer to concentrate on the facial features and body scarification that was often highlighted in the photographs. Early portraits were done in studio partly because of the technological limitations of the wet-plate process. Once dry plates were introduced to the region in 1880, it was easier for studio and amateur photographers to travel beyond the limits of the studio, exploring the rural landscapes surrounding the urban centers. Landscape views were produced and marketed to show the uniqueness and “exotic” qualities of the Oceanic lands. Images of fern tree gullies, like that in Figure 1, were common, as the sheer size of the vegetation was considered primordial and mysterious. Another common subject was closer to home: urban street views, civic monuments and parliament buildings in Sydney and Melbourne that show the progress of the relatively 31 young nation. Both the landscape and city views were presented to a local and international audience in order to show characteristic views of Oceania and present an image of progress, developing a sense of pride for the country. Both of these subjects – the “exotic” landscape and urban development – can be found in the Oceanic Collection.

King would later use the dry plate process to photograph the Sydney streets and Australian landscape. from - Lomore, Cassie, "Finding Oceania : organizing a collection of Oceanic photographs and albums at the Art Gallery of Ontario" (2012). Theses and dissertations. Paper 1516.

His portraits, mostly half length and identically posed, were often taken against a painted studio backdrop of the bush. At the World Colombian Exposition at Chicago in 1893 he was awarded a certificate and a bronze medal for the size, technique and artistic finish of his Aboriginal portraits. 

He was also among those who introduced updated and new photographic methods to Sydney:

A New Photography.

Mr. Henry King, photographer, of Sydney has a number of stereoscopic photographs which he has just received from Paris.  The peculiarity of the invention — for the process has been protected by one named L. Ducos of Huron — is that the twin pictures, instead of being laid side by side, are superposed, or nearly so. One is printed in blue and the other in red, the blue overlapping on the left-hand side of the composite, by about half an inch. The result, to the naked vision, is a sort of prismatic blurr. But look at them through a pair of eyeglasses — one glass blue and the other red — and the effect is extraordinary. One sees a sharp picture in monotone, with the strongest of stereoscopic effects. It is a most ingenious contrivance. In conformity with the ordinary laws of sight, the bine glass is held to the right eye and the red one to the left, whereas the blue impression on the picture overlaps the left.  A New Photography. (1896, October 26). National Advocate (Bathurst, NSW : 1889 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article156706945 

As his career progressed, and with the invention of dry-plate techniques, King turned more to landscape photography, producing as well as popular scenic views a series of Sydney street scenes, now valued for their historic as well as their artistic interest.

During the first decade of the twentieth century Mr. King carried out photographic work for the National Art Gallery of New South Wales and for several art societies. He counted many artists among his friends. His photograph of the 1907 selection committee of the Society of Artists, Sydney, featuring Julian Ashton, Will Dyson, Norman Lindsay, Sydney Long, D. H. Souter, Rose Soady (Lindsay) and Harry Weston, has often been reproduced.

In 1901 the Australasian Photographic Review described King as 'one of the oldest and … most successful photographers in New South Wales' and three years later the December 1904 Edition uses his photographs to illustrate an entire issue with his work: 

'Mr King is a photographer of the old and new schools combined, and stands high in the esteem of the craft, and by amateurs he is regarded as a true and valued friend'. 

His name, it concluded, had become 'a household word':

Burke, Keast & Burke, Walter. (1956). Australasian photo-review Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-416683496

He was active in the N.S.W. Photographic Society and always encouraged amateurs - thus the tribute above.


The annual exhibition of the New South Wales Photographic Society, which has been thrown open this year to intercolonial competitors, was officially opened at the rooms of the Art Society, 70 Pitt Street, yesterday afternoon, in the presence of a representative attendance. His Honor Judge Docker (president of the society), in opening the proceedings, explained that, owing to the unavoidable absence of his Excellency the Governor, Sir James Fairfax had consented to open the exhibition. 

There was a new departure this year, in as much as the exhibition was open to competitors from the different colonies. Consequently, there was a great increase in exhibitors, New Zealand being especially well represented. It would be found that some of the most valuable prizes had gone beyond the colony. But the society did not grudge these competitors their success. On the contrary, it welcomed them, for what had been lost in prizes had been gained in the comparison which would be drawn with their own work, and from the higher standard which had been shown. 

Sir James Fairfax, in declaring the exhibition open, referred to the fact that the society had been in existence for four years, and had held four exhibitions, each of which showed progress. It must be gratifying to see the exhibition so successful. It had been stated that photography was not a fine art, but he was of opinion that in order to produce the best, the operator must have a good idea of art. As an amateur photographer himself, and one who had taken a great interest in art, it gave him much pleasure to be present and open the exhibition. Mr Alfred Allen moved a vote of thanks to Sir James Fairfax, which was conveyed by his Honor Judge Docker. 

The exhibition of photos, was a very varied one, the entries being very numerous. As it was open to intercolonial competitors, the following societies were represented: Dunedin Photographic Society, Queensland Amateur Photographic Society, South Australian Photographic Association, Victorian Amateur Photographic Association, Wellington Camera Club (New Zealand), Working Men's Photographic Club (Victoria), and the Austral Camera Club, Gulgong Amateur Photographic Society and the Photographic Society representing N.S.W. 

The judges were Messrs. Henry King, W. M'Leod and J. Brooks Thornley. Some very fine slides were shown and the gems of the exhibition were conceded to be 'The Smithy,' by Mr. J. A. Higinbotham, Dunedin (N.Z.); 'What Is It?' by Mr. R. Porteous, Working Men's College Club (Vic); 'Study in Color,' a yachting scene, by Mr. H.V. Lawes, Photographic Society of N.S.W.; 'Flower Study,' by Mr. A. Hamilton, Dunedin (N.Z.), and 'The Laundress,' by Mr, F. A. Joyner, South Australia. The last-named secured the first prize for the best carbon in the show. There was very keen competition in the landscape section. 

The office-bearers of the society are: Patron, Lord Beauchamp; president, his Honor Judge Docker; vice-presidents, Sir J.P. Abbott, and Messrs. C.G. Alford, F.T. Humphery, M.L.C., R. N. Kirk, and E. T. Davis; committee, Messrs. H. T. Blake, F.S. Copeland, Jas. Heron, L. Rolver, and M. V. Murphy; treasurer, Mr. J. M. Jago; hon. secretary, Mr Jas. S. Stenning; and assistant hon.secretary, Mr. T. de C. Lewis. 

Following is the list of awards: Class I - Landscape: J. Kauffmann (S.A.), 'On the Lago Maggiori', 1; J.R. Yorke, 'Jamberoo Creek,' 2; J. Kauffmann (SA), 'Sunset on the Pool,' 3; J. Kauffmann (SA), 'Fennel in Bloom,' H.C. Class I - Members' Sub-section: J.S. Stening, 'Noonday,' 1; J. S. Stening, "E'en Shades", 2; E.T. Davis , 'In the Meadow,' 3. Class II -Seascapes and Clouds: J. S. Stening, 'An Autumn Evening,' 1; C.W. Middleton, 'Rain Clouds,' 2; A. J. Relph, Working Men's College (Vic.), 'In a Flood of Silvery Moonlight,' 3; J. Kauffmann (SA), 'Sunset on the Indian Ocean,' H.C. F. C. Wills (Q.), 'Cloud Study,' H.C. Class III - Yachting and Shipping: H.V. Lawes, 'A Study in Color,' 1; J. S. Stening, 'Our Harbor,' 2; T. de C. Lewis, 'Leaving Port,' 3; C. J. Heron, 'Archina.' 4. Class IVa.— Still Life: A. Hamilton, Dunedin, 'Roses,' 1; A.C. Gifford, Wellington, (N.Z.), 'Night Flowering Cactus,' 2; A. Hamilton, Dunedin, 'Blue Gum,' 3. Class IV -Members Sub-section: B. T. Davis, 'Marman Cochet, 1; L. Roever, 'Flora,' 2; J. M. Jago, Flower Study,' 3. Class IVb. — Animals: L. B. Blackwell. 'Bijou,' 1; A. C. Gifford, Wellington (N.Z.), 'A Local Branch of the Anti-Bot Fly Association', 2; J. M. Jago, 'Milking Time,' 3. Class V. - Genre: R. Porteous, Working Men's College (Vic), 'What is It?' 1; J. A. Higinbotham, Wellington (N.Z.), 'The Smithy,' 2 and HC; F.A. Joyner (S.A.), 'The Laundress,' 3; Class V. -Members Sub-section : L. Roever, 'My Pussy,' 1; H.E. Finckh, 'Child Study,' 2; L. Roever, 'Under the Apple Tree,' 3. Class VI.— Architecture: Thos. Marsh, 'Interior of St. Andrew's', 1; L. B. Blackwell, 'Hursley Church,' 2; Thos Marsh, 'Interior of Town Hall,' 3. Class VII -Hand Camera: R. E. Fletcher, Dunedin, 'Set Snapshots,' 1; T. de C. Lewis, 'A Day's Outing', 2; A. W. Pigott (Q.), ''Set Snapshots", 3; Class VII - Members Sub-section: T. de C- Lewis, 'A Days Outing,' 1; J. M. Jago, 'Snapshots,' 2; T. Marsh. 'Snapshots,' 3. Class IX. — Transparancies: C B. Goslett (Vic), 'Flower Study,' 1; J.M. Jago, 'Near Burragorang,' 2; L. Roever, 'Circular Quay,' 3; Class X. - Stereoscopic: Thos Marsh, "Stereograms"; W. Williams (Dunedin), "Stereograms", 2; His Honor Judge Docker, "Stereograms", 3; Class XI. — Best Bichromatic Print in the Exhibition - F.A. Joyner, S.A.P.S., 'The Laundress'; Class XII - Illustrative of Happiness: J.M. Jago, 'Happiness,'' 1; L. Roever, 'Children's Happy Days,' 2: H.E. Finckh, "You Can't Catch Me", 3; Lantern slides and best collection of members work are still to be judged. N.S.W. PHOTOGRAPHIC SOCIETY. (1899, October 25). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 8. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article113694384


It may fairly be said that the tenth international exhibition of the Photographic Society of New South Wales which opened today at the Royal Art Society's Galleries, 78 Pitt Street, Sydney, surpasses anything of the kind yet produced in this State, if not in Australia.

Interest in the photographic art is extending always among the multitude, but in addition to that fact there is always evidence of an upward tendency in the art itself so much so indeed that the dividing line between the photographer's work and that of the painter is not quite as wide as it was years ago. There were sent in this year over 600 pictures for exhibition, of these 443 were accepted. It is a sign of the development of taste in photography in Australia that any pictures should be thrown out. The judges were Mr Henry King, Mr William Tyree, and Mr Norman Lindsay. One section of the exhibition is devoted entirely to English work that was selected by Mr F.J. Mortimer. The pictures which The English collection is ... PHOTOGRAPHIC SOCIETY OF N.S.W. (1911, April 28). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 3. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article114133559

His success as a photographer eventually enabled him to build a large house in Wellington Street,Bondi which was called 'Rothelstone', with the beach only a few streets away. John King, of Swanage, owned a 'Rothelstone House' in 1880, indicating the name for the house he built was a tribute to where his parents brought him from.

Bearded and bespectacled, Mr. King was a self-effacing man who clearly had a rapport with many of the photographers of his day - in fact one of his sailing images is said to show William J Hall, renowned for his sailing photography on Sydney Harbour. The Australian National Maritime Museum (NMA), which holds a large number of his sailing images, as does the RSYS, states:

William J Hall (1877-1951) and his father, William Frederick Hall, both worked as photographers in Sydney in the late 19th century and early 20th century. The extensive collection of their images contains portraits, places and many sailing scenes.

Despite not being a sailing man himself, William J Hall, in a tradition that his father started, took to the water each weekend to capture the vessels, sailors and spectators that converged on Sydney Harbour for the weekend racing carnivals. He became a fixture on the harbour, expertly handling his camera despite the rough and wet conditions as his motor boat wove through the competitive vessels. Each Monday Hall would display his photographs in his shopfront window, becoming a regular attraction as people crowded to see the images and discuss the weekend’s races. If you can help us identify any people, places or vessels please provide your imformation in the comments box. Thank you and enjoy looking through these fabulous photographs! To view more images by the Hall Studio see the People and Portraits set and the Hawkesbury River set. Visit:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/anmm_thecommons/sets/72157629572334337/

The Yacht 'Era' 1890. photo By Henry King. Courtesy of Powerhouse Museum [85/1285-165] (Tyrrell Photographic Collection). Some historians have speculated about whether this is actually Mr. Hall in this photograph

His clear support for other photographers, amateurs and professionals, lends speculation to who is in these photographs, as it is the same gentleman in both, that he took at 'Bay View' House on Crystal Bay Newport during the 1880's-1890's. That boarding house was then owned by David Scott, a photographer himself. The Scott’s bought the property and acreage from Benjamin James in 1886. One way to draw visitors out from 'Sydney Town' was to have photographs of the premises and environs where they would see them.

Bayview House from Loftus Point, Newport, N.S.W.’, Henry King, Sydney, Australia, c. 1880-1900 - This photograph existing  is perhaps a measure of the esteem and regard Henry King's photographs were held in by other photographers as the property he is photographing was owned by a gentleman who was also a portrait and landscape photographer.
'Bay View House, Newport, by Henry King. David and Dorcas Scott (nee Dickson) married in 1860 with the marriage registered at Paddington:

SCOTT—DICKSON—November 28th, by special license, at the residence of the bride's father, by the Rev. James Adam, Mr. David Scott, of Sydney, to Dorcas, fourth daughter of Mr. Joseph Dickson, Waverley. Family Notices (1860, December 8). Sydney Mail (NSW : 1860 - 1871), p. 5. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article166695538

Dorcas and David had six children, two daughters who died, one in infancy and the other at nine years of age, and David J Scott 1861 – 1926, Herbert (Bert) Scott 1869 – 1934, Minnie Scott 1875 – 1956 and Leighton Scott 1879 – 1961. Is this his eldest or second eldest son in this photo with him? 

‘Lord Loftus Pt, Newport NSW’. circa 1880 and 1900 - part of the Royal Australian Historical Society (RAHS) collection - the steamer may be the Florrie - launched 1879, or the Illawarra

Compare this image by yet another Photographer of Early Pittwater - Charles Bayliss - that same man, in that same white hat! 

And where was Mr. Bayliss operating from: WANTED, a BOY. C. Bayliss, photographer, 419, George-street. - trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/28392953 - 16 July 1878 - perhaps all these 'George street Photographers of 1878' had a coffee or cup of tea together on occasion or shared new information and techniques. PHOTOGRAPHY.-Ross' Symmetrical LENS (12 x 10), Bellows, folding Camera (12 x 12), and Tripod Stand,for SALE. C. Bayliss, 415, George-street. Advertising (1880, February 4). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13453743 By 1885 he was at 348 George Street:  LOST, Tuesday. BLACK BOW with gold brooch. Reward. C. Bayliss, photo., 348, George-street.  from trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/13586615 

Newport, circa 1880-1890, by Henry King or Charles Bayliss - and enlarged sections from. Part of the Royal Australian Historical Society (RAHS) collection  - the steamer may be the Florrie - launched 1879 - or the Illawarra, which also brought excursionists to the Newport wharf. 

David Scott had previously worked as a portrait photographer in the city but may have moved his wife and family out here in order to help his wife, Dorcas Scott (nee Dickson) recover from an ongoing illness. He continued taking photographs, including local events such as cricket matches at Mona Vale into the 1900's.

David Scott
Artist (Photographer)
professional photographer, trained at Edwin Dalton's Sydney studio in 1857, then opened his own photographic rooms in George Street in 1858. He took over William Bradley 's premises in Pitt Street in 1870 and remained there until 1891. In 1870 he advertised as Bradley’s successor and as the winner of a 'Prize Medal’ for coloured photographs at that year’s New South Wales Agricultural Society Exhibition. The plain and coloured photographic portraits he showed at the 1879 Sydney International Exhibition were awarded a highly commended certificate. In 1885 he was producing dry-plate 'instantaneous pictures’ with a new camera weighing about 10 pounds (4 kg) which, he claimed, had 'a universal range of focus’ so that his photograph of the Double Bay Regatta, for instance, showed all the sailing boats and spectator craft sharply and clearly.

Scott is known to have been producing portraits by the autotype process in 1879, nine years after Victor Prout introduced this carbon-printed paper technique to New South Wales. In 1881 he was pioneering the gelatine negative process; in November he won first prize in a photographic competition held by Mawson & Swan of Newcastle-upon-Tyne (UK), major manufacturers and suppliers of gelatine-bromide plates. Scott’s winning photograph, a portrait of the singer Madeleine St Clair, was called in the Photographic News , 'a charming study of a female head; it is a bust portrait of a lady in evening dress, the posing and lighting being managed with much taste’. Initial Record Data Source: The Dictionary of Australian Artists: painters, sketchers, photographers and engravers to 1870

Mr. FREEMAN begs to announce the completion of some important alterations in his Studio, more especially in the distribution of light, thereby avoiding the glare so frequently a subject of complaint ; and at the same time producing a more artistic and pleasing portrait.

Mr. FREEMAN invites particular attention to his INSTANTANEOUS process, for Children and Nervous Sitters.

Photographs enlarged and finished, in Oils, Water Colours, or Crayons.

B. WILLIAM BRADLEY having sold his business to his old and valued friend Mr. DAVID SCOTThas great pleasure in recommending that gentleman to his numerous patrons, and respectfully begs to assure them that Mr. David Scott will be certain to produce portraits in all reflects equal to those taken by himself, as, in addition to his natural taste and long experience as an artistic photographer, Mr. Scott is in possession of the entire formula and processes used by Mr. Bradley with such great success. And, in addition to this, Mr. Scott has been thoroughly initialed into the exact method of operating practised by Mr. Bradley, and having now taken all the portraits at the above establishment for the last nine months. Many of these portraits being finer than anything that has hitherto been produced in Sydney, Mr. Bradley trusts that this may be taken as a guarantee of Mr. D. Scott's great ability. In conclusion, Mr. Bradley begs to thank his patrons for their favours, to kindly bestowed upon him for so many years past. 

P.S.:The business will be carried on as usual under the same name of William Bradley, in order to avoid mistake. 

London, November 12, 1869

Advertising (1870, January 29). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13199690


Sir,-In a report of the Fine Arts at the Exhibition, viz, photography, contained in this morning's Herald, terms of praise are attached to photographic portraits exhibited by a Mr. Montague Scott. I beg to state that it is an error, for if you will kindly refer to the Catalogue you will see that no photographs are exhibited by the above, The commendation was no doubt intended for me. As you will see by Catalogue, Class 495, No. 2536, that I exhibited both plain and coloured photographs, which have been highly commended by the judges, and as I have already suffered in my business through the mistake in the names, I will feel obliged if you will correct the mistake in your report to save me from suffering still further through it.

Your attention to the above will oblige yours, respectfully,


140, Pitt-street, September 27th.

TO THE EDITOR, OF THE HERALD. (1870, September 28). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13222066

BUIST and SON.-Pianofortes, harmoniums, concertinas, &c, tuned and repaired. 235, George-st. ESTABLISHED 30 years. 

PHOTOGRAPHY.-DAVID SCOTT (successor to William Bradley), Artist Photographer, 140, Pitt street, Sydney. Awarded Prize Medal. Advertising (1872, July 22). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13260819 

(1878, October 26). Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 - 1907), p. 8. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page5668734

Louisa Ewer, ca. 1871-1879 by photographer David Scott. Image no a4215042h, courtesy State Library of NSW.

Sketches at the Camp.

BY means of the instantaneous photography process, worked out by Mr. David Scott, photographer, 416, George-street, Sydney, to whom we are indebted for the sketches, our artist has been able to reproduce several pictures taken during the camp evolutions at Windsor. Of the proceedings he says :

On reaching Windsor by train about 11 a.m., at which hour the cool atmosphere is so refreshing, for which Windsor is so famous, I strolled down to South Creek, where willows line its banks, and under the shade of which the engineers under the direction of Captain Parrott constructed a pontoon bridge which spanned South Creek. The bridge was made of casks and miscellaneous timber, the whole structure being of sufficient strength to carry men and stores (as in engraving). I believe the bridge was never tested for carrying a load, but came in as practice for the engineers.

During the morning (after parade), an arrangement having been made for an attack upon and defence of the camp, the attacking party, under the direction of the commandant, marched for open ground the defence force under the command of Lieut.-Colonel Wilkinson being left in the camp, and piquets shortly stationed for its defence, some of which took shelter in one of the trenches (see engraving) -which had been thrown up by tho engineers. Shortly afterwards guns were heard in tho direction of the railway. The defending party at once brought their guns into position to bear on the spot where the enemy had been discovered. As the attacking party, advanced steadily over the hill towards the camp rifle and gun shots were exchanged, becoming pretty lively, as may be seen detailed in the engravings. The right flank of the attacking party, bore on the left flank of the defending party the effort being made with strong force, but which was met by the two guns in camp. The artillery fire of the camp held the enemy in chock for a few moments, but they were overwhelmed by the enemy's infantry, and the invaders gained the day. The bugle was then sounded for mustering, and, after general salute, the troops dispersed to their different quarters for dinner and for cleaning arms.

Another sketch shows some of the engineers at dinner, the centre gentleman doing the amiable to the loaf of bread, powder seeming to sharpen the appetite, if we may judge from the smiling expression on the different countenances. After packing up traps and departing for home by the evening train, an elderly lady beguiled us on our way by a lecture on the noise of those horrid guns, during which I fell asleep, which ended for the time being all remembrances of the Easter camp. 

The location of the mimic battlefields of Windsor is certainly among the most charming of situations for the purposes of an encampment. The pictures descriptive of the sham fights are exceedingly : characteristic, and show our citizen soldiers at their best. The sham battles by day were exceedingly well conducted, and were witnessed by many thousands of spectators in weather that was simply beautiful, so that the enjoyment was thorough, throughout, both on the part of our citizen soldiers and on the part of the visitors who flocked in large numbers from Sydney, Windsor, and Richmond to witness the manouvres. The night attack on tho camp, the feint being made from the railway, and the real attack from tho rear of tho camp, was perhaps one of tho best episodes yet witnessed in the colonies in connection with volunteer work, and reflected high, credit on all concerned. Ab the dinner given to Ministers on the ground by the staff officers, the Premier expressed himself in the highest terms of praise at what he had witnessed, and Sir Edward Strickland, K.C.M.GK, stated that in his opinion our volunteers were among the finest in the world. The Colonel-Commandant from Tasmania and Commodore Erskine, of H.M.S. Nelson, spoke to the same effect ; and generally speaking there can be no doubt that the late Easter Encampment was the most successful that has ever been held in New South Wales. Sketches at the Camp. (1884, April 26). Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 - 1907), p. 19. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71011048

During the first two years of his proprietorship David Scott kept the name ‘Bay View House’ in all advertisements but advertised the property, and its ‘curative’ aspects as ‘Scott’s Sanatorium’ in the years 1891-1892. This may have been an appeal to the advert readers but also may denote his wish that his wife be cured. He also seemed to be in charge of renting another, smaller cottage.

TO CAMPING PARTIES.-To LET, at Newport, Pittwater, a two-roomed COTTAGE, plainly furnished, rent £1 per week. Apply D. SCOTT, Newport, Pittwater. Advertising. (1888, January 14). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 21. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13675912

NEWPORT, Pittwater, a Lovely Place, the Saratoga of Australia.-Superior Accommodation. D. Scott, Newport  Advertising. (1888, January 30). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13677690

After Dorcas’ passing from cancer in 1892, David Scott has another managing the letting of the premises and the images showing off the ideal spot may date from then:

SCOTT.-April 19, at her residence, Newport, Pittwater, Dorcas, the beloved wife of David Scott, aged 52 years. Family Notices. (1892, April 20)The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13861711

Advertising. The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954) Saturday 16 November 1889 p 20 Advertising ... spot.-Superior ACCOMMODATION, Bay View House, salt water swimming bath, boats, &c. D. D. SCOTT
Newport, Pittwater.
Delightful place" ; the place for a day or a month. All Particulars BULLARD and CO., George-street, city
Advertising. (1891, August 22). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13835936


Advertising (1892, December 31). Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 - 1907), p. 45. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71208194

His daughter Minnie took over management of the premises when she was old enough.

Above:  Scott's' guest house at Newport (NSW) 31/12/1908 Pic No 18526_a024_000031, and Tables at Scotts Guest House, Newport (NSW) Pic No: 18526_a024_000106 Below This: View from Scotts Guest House at Newport PIc No: 18526_a024_000098, Under This; View towards Bayview from Scotts guest house at Newport Pic No: 18526_a024_000053 All dated 31/12/1908 and from the State Records of NSW - these images may have been taken by David Scott

David Scott passed away in 1913, the death was registered at Manly:

SCOTT.— February 15, 1913, at his residence, Newport, David Scott, aged 78 years. Family Notices (1913, February 17). The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW : 1883 - 1930), p. 6. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article238627286

An old identity was lost to the Pittwater district by the death of. Mr. David Scott, of Newport, whoso remains were interred at Waverley Cemetery on Monday. Mr. Scott, who had formerly carried on business as a photographer in Sydney, went with his wife and family to reside at Newport nearly 30 years ago, and purchasing a house situated on the Isthmus that divides Pittwater from the ocean, opened a boarding-house, which for a quarter of a century has been visited by cyclists and other travellers going north from Manly. PERSONAL. (1913, February 22). The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW : 1883 - 1930), p. 12. Retrieved from  http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article238617462

In fact there seems to be the likelihood that David Scott had Henry King and Charles Bayliss as guests on a few occasions during that 1880 - 1890 decade as much as working in George Street himself. 

Even Charles Kerry may have been a visitor when examining the first subdivisions of the peninsula at Rocky Point and Elvina Bay during the years from 1880 to 1890: Visit:  Pittwater Summer Houses: Rocky Point and Elvina Bay Peninsula -  A Place Of  Holiday Songs And Operas In Ventnor, Fairhaven, Trincomalee and Maritana and Compare:

'Scotland Island, Newport, Pittwater, N.S.W.', Henry King, Sydney, Australia, c. 1880-1900, courtesy Tyrell Collection, Powerhouse Museum

'Orange Orchard' by Charles Kerry, circa 1887-1888. From Tyrell Collection, courtesy Powerhouse Museum

'At Pittwater' by Charles Kerry, circa 1887-1888. From Tyrell Collection, courtesy Powerhouse Museum

'Pittwater, Broken Bay' by Charles Kerry, circa 1887-1888. From Tyrell Collection, courtesy Powerhouse Museum

'Pittwater, From Bay View House' by Henry King, circa 1887-1888. From Tyrell Collection, courtesy Powerhouse Museum - note the lumber on the Scott's pier
'Barranjoey, Broken Bay' by Henry King, circa 1881-1888. From Tyrell Collection, courtesy Powerhouse Museum - and sections from to show details: Visit -  Barrenjoey Lighthouse - The Construction

'Barranjoey Lighthouseby Henry King, circa 1881-1888. From Tyrell Collection, courtesy Powerhouse Museum

'Pier, Barranjoey, Broken Bay' by Henry King, circa 1881-1890 - From Tyrell Collection, courtesy Powerhouse Museum

Despite competition for commercial contracts and sales there was a fraternity among these photographers and who else was to take a photograph of them if not each other?

While the sight of someone grinning straight at the lens makes you wonder if they're a relative - is this little boy, and girl and lady at Manly - part of Henry's own family adding some extra interest to this photograph he took of Manly for instance - is this Harry H (born 1886), Ivy L (born 1889) and Mrs. Elizabeth King? If so, that would date this image to the 1890's and give us one of the few insights available of King family life. 

‘Manly, N.S.W.’ by Henry King, circa 1880 - 1890, courtesy Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences - Visit HERE for more MAAS Manly

Henry King died aged 68 in Waverley War Memorial Hospital on May 22nd, 1923 following abdominal surgery and was buried on 24 May in the Congregational section of Waverley cemetery. He was survived by his son and three daughters. 

His wife had preceded him by a few years:

KING.—The Friends of Mr. HENRY KING and FAMILY, of Rothelstone, 22 Wellington-street, Bondi, are kindly informed that the Interment of their dearly-loved WIFE and MOTHER will take place at Waverley Cemetery, THIS (Saturday) MORNING, at 10 o'clock. By request, no flowers. W. CARTER, Undertaker, Wav. Family Notices (1919, July 12). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 15. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15848980

NSW BDM's: KING  ELIZABETH 18190/1919 Parents - ROBERT RACHEL Death registered at - WAVERLEY

After his death King's studio collection of glass negatives was purchased by J. R. Tyrrell and eventually by Consolidated Press Holdings. In 1975 an exhibition of his Aboriginal portraits was held at the Australian Centre for Photography. Factual and uncluttered by artistic effect, they were appreciated for their ethnological significance and the dignity of his subjects.

KING.—May 22, at a private hospital, Waverley, Henry King (photographer, 279 George-street, Sydney) dearly loved father of Edith, Harry, Ivy, and Dorothy King, of Rothelstone, 22 Wellington-street, Bondi aged 69 years. Family Notices (1923, May 24). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16077260 


KING.— May 22nd, at a private hospital, Waverly, Henry King, photographer, of 279 George Street, Sydney, dearly loved father of Edith, Harry, Ivy, and Dorothy King, of "Rothelstone," 22 Wellington Street, Bondi, aged 68 years. 


KING.— The interment of the late Mr. HENRY KING, of "Rothelstons," 22 Wellington Street, Bondi, will take place at the Waverley Cemetery, TO-MORROW (THURSDAY) MORNING, at 10.45. W. CARTER. Undertaker, Waverley. Family Notices (1923, May 23). The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW : 1883 - 1930), p. 8. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article245811288 

His landscapes of an earlier Pittwater are among the finest available and underline the importance of the work of our local Museums and State and National Libraries in housing, keeping and with the advent of the Internet, digitising these materials so they are available for all to see how this place was before all the changes that have taken place for those who like to see what came before them.

Henry King's photographs still command high prices at auctions and through art dealers - a testament to his brilliance, even if he may have thought he was just 'doing his job'. We all remain fans - and small tributes such as this page, hope to bring home how precious the work of those who developed and encouraged this art form is.

References and Extras

  1. Richard King, 'King, Henry (1855–1923)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/king-henry-6959/text12087, published first in hardcopy 1983
  2. Josef Lebovic, Henry King, 1855 - 1923, auction catalogue, Josef Lebovic Gallery, Paddington, Australia, date unknown 
  3. Newton, Gael, Shades of Light; Photography and Australia 1839 - 1988, Australian National Gallery, Canberra, 1988
  4. TROVE - National Library of Australia
  5. Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences - Sydney
  6. Australian National Maritime Museum - Sydney
  7. Studies and Thesis cited above.

Also available:

Official opening of the Hawkesbury River Railway Bridge, New South Wales, 1 May 1889 [picture] Henry King. Retrieved from  http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-155020979  - courtesy National Library of Australia

Visit: The Hawkesbury River Railway Bridge: Some Timely Winter Anniversaries And Commemorations For A Septuagenarian (2018 History page)

LAING.—December 31, at his residence, 314, Crown-street, Surry Hills, Robert Laing, native of Forres, Moreyshire, Scotland, aged 54 years. Family Notices (1879, January 4). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved  from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13427203

THE FRIENDS of the late Mr. ROBERT LAING, Sen., are respectfully invited to attend his Funeral ; to move from his late residence, 314, Crown-street, Surry Hills, THIS (Wednesday) AFTERNOON, at a quarter-past 2 o'clock, to Necropolis. C. KINSELA and SONS, 118, Oxford-street, and 757, George-street, opposite Christ Church.

WESLEYAN or PROTESTANT UNION BENEFIT SOCIETY.—Members of the above are respectfully Invited to attend the Funeral of their late Brother, ROBERT LAING, Sen. ; to move from his late residence, 314, Crown-street, at 2 o'clock, THIS DAY, Wednesday, to the Necropolis. R. D. SIPPE, Secretary.  Family Notices (1879, January 1). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article28391854

In the Supreme Court of New South Wales.


In the will of Robert Laing, late of Crown-street, in the City of Sydney, in the Colony of New South Wales, stonemason, deceased. 

NOTICE is hereby given, that after the expiration of fourteen days from the publication hereof, application will be made to this Honorable Court, that probate of the last will and testament of the aboreuamcd deceased may be granted to Robert Laing, James John Sutton, and Henry Daniel Welch, of Sydney, in the said Colony, gentlemen, the executors thereof.—Dated this 9th day of January, a.d. 1879.

Proctor for Applicants,
Harnett-street, Sydney. 

ECCLESIASTICAL JURISDICTION. (1879, January 10). New South Wales Government Gazette (Sydney, NSW : 1832 - 1900), p. 150. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article223657024

LAING—VINE.—December 26, 1878, at the residence of the bride's parents, Elizabeth-street, Redfern, by the Rev. T. J. Curtis, Robert Laing, only son of the late Robert Laing, senior, of Surry Hills, Sydney, to Annie Elizabeth Vine, only daughter of Alfred Vine, Railway Surveyor, Redfern, Sydney. Family Notices (1879, February 1). The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1871 - 1912), p. 165. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article162807561

CHALCRAFT — LAING. — March 4, 1886, at the residence of the bride's mother, Cooper-street, Surry Hills, by Rev. T. Johnson, Charles Chalcraft, of Dorking, Surrey, England, to Isabella Laing, second daughter of the late Robert Laing. Family Notices (1886, March 20). The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1871 - 1912), p. 620. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article162814124

LAING.-October 26, 1900, at the residence of her son-in-law, Mr. C. Chalcraft, Holmwood, St. Paul street, Randwick, Rachael, relict of the late Robert Laing, aged 69 years.  Family Notices (1900, November 3). Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 - 1907), p. 20. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71390680

Henry King obit Australian Photography Journal (Australasian Photo Review), page 523, October 1923 - courtesy National Library of Australia


YESTERDAY evening, Mr. J. Freeman delivered, to a numerous and attentive audience, assembled in the Hall of the School of Arts, an interesting and instructive lecture upon " Photography - its Rise, Prowess, and Application : " illustrating his remarks by a variety of chemical experiments having an immediate bearing upon his subject, and explaining the nature and use of the apparatus employed for the present development of photographic art. A large number of beautiful specimens were exhibited and referred to by Mr. Freeman in the course of the lecture, in exemplification of the results of different processes, and as evidencing that perfection already obtained by skilful application of the photo-graphic principle. The lecturer commenced by giving a history of the rise, progress, and various applications of photography, for the benefit of those who knew that science only by its works ; having seen and admired its productions without understanding the means whereby it was worked, or the rationale of its various processes. This lecture was intended for the information and amusement of those who had not studied the subject ; not, as lectures on photography frequently were, for the instruction of students in the art. 

The lecturer proceeded to state that the science of photography was properly to be considered as an entirely modern invention, and expressed his reasons for dissenting from the opinion entertained by some that indications of an imperfect knowledge of it might be traced up to ancient times. The rapid manner in which the photographic principle had been developed and almost universally applied, was then illustrated | by a reference to the wonderful and manifold application of the powers of steam, as prophesied in the poetry of Darwin, and, as now, everywhere fulfilled. From its earliest birth Photography had, in its various branches, been rendered useful in elucidating other arts and sciences, and had been made largely subservient to the happiness of the social circle. 

Various experiments relating to the blackening properties of I salts of silver Lad been made previous'to the commencement of the present century by several philosophers, amongst whom might he mentioned Shecle, Gaueibier, and Rumford ; out no important advance towards the actual discovery of photography was made up to the year 1801, when Sir Humphrey Davy and Mr. Wedgewood turned their attention to the subject. At that time they first endeavoured to produce impressions from the camera obscura ; and Wedgewood, in the year 1802, published a paper in the journal of the Royal Institution, under "the title of " An account of a method of copying paintings on glass, and of making profiles by the agency of light upon nitrate of silver," with observations by Sir Humphrey Davy. The result of these experiments was, however, rendered abortive by their inability to produce any means for fixing the impressions. 

The possibility of copying objects produced by the solar microscope was at that early date discovered by Sir Humphrey. To that great philosopher, therefore, was to be attributed the honour of having invented the first application of photography to the arts and sciences. The lecturer then passed on to speak, of the discoveries of Daguerre and Nieper, by which the early visions of Davy and Wedgewood became realised as a fact, and such astonishing results obtained by the application of photography as would,' in the days of darkness and superstition,'have consigned the inventors to the Dungeon or the Stake. Daguerre obtained a large pension for making his process public, from the benefit of which England was excluded, Mr. Bland having purchased the exclusive right to the practice of the art in that country. Bland sold licenses accordingly for cities and countries to persons desirous ' of acquiring the right to practice the art. 

At that period the lecturer had been one of the licensees, having purchased the right for Somersetshire, where he first practised the photographic art. This exclusive right retarded the progress of photography in England, and years elapsed before it was superseded j but not before Mr. Egerton had spent a considerable amount of money in dispute as to its legality. The lecturer then reviewed the capabilities and general application of the daguerreotype process, pointing out its defects, and peculiar difficulties, and showing how the complication of the apparatus together with the expensive nature of the manufactured plates of metal required, presented obstacles to its adoption by amateurs. M. Claudet's invention of the photometer, and .the phocometer instruments for ascertaining the correctness of focus, and the relative degrees of intensity of light, was then touched upon ; and mention was made of the series of experiments made for the purpose of converting daguerreotype impressions into engravers' plates by means of different acids aided by galvanic batteries. The daguerreotype, however, in spite of every thing, was found to be more fitted for the (production of miniature portraits than for the advancement of other applications of the art. The sister art of photography upon paper (instead of metallic plates as in the daguerreotype process), was then treated of by the lecturer. In 1839, Mr. Fox' Talbot, after a series of elaborate experiments, published in 1839, the valuable result of his scientific researches. The power of re-production on paper of photographic pictures was, in-' deed, extremely important. 

The Talbotype, which owed its existence to the genius of Mr. Fox Talbot, was possessed of all the best and most material advantages of the art. In delicacy of tone, however, it was after-wards surpassed by the Collodion process. The lecturer then entered into an interesting and lengthened description of the different processes thus developed, and their respective peculiarities and defects... The perfection of the photographic process was arrived at through the discoveries of Mr. Scott Archer, scarcely any attentions having taken, place since the modifications which he introduced. 

The lecturer then explained at length to the audience the principles of the Collodion process, showing the action of rays of light on the various chemical agents employed, what those different agents were, and the manner in which they were severally used. This portion, of the lecture was extremely interesting and instructive, although of such a nature that it would scarcely be possible to make it intelligible unless, fully reported. Having familiarised his hearers with, the uses and properties of test-tubes and -chemical solutions, negative pictures, the process of positive printing, the use of photographic printing frames ; Mr. Freeman next dwelt upon the application of the microscope to' photography, and exemplified its extraordinary and beautiful results. Amongst these illustrations ,was produced the representation of a parasite found, existing on a beetle-too minute to be visible to the naked eye, but by the unerring aid of microscopic; photography elaborately drawn about as large as a man's hand. 

The application of photography to astronomical purposes (in which Mr. Warren de la Hue had proved so successful) was then fully described, and discussed, and enlarged photograph of the moon shewn and handed round to the audience. Amongst the wonders of photography, none were more productive of amusement and instruction than the stereoscope. This little toy of science, the joint production of Professor Wheatstone and Sir David Brewster, had, Mr. Freeman observed» opened a very wide fîeld for the photographer, the many uses to which it was applicable, being'such as would occupy some considerable time to enumerate. The lecturer then explained the principles of, the stereoscope in concise and .simple terms, and after-wards eloquently expatiated upon the practical'uses of all the different applications of photography. 

Amongst those he mentioned and exemplified the litho-graphic process and Paul Pretsch's photo-galvanic, process. Photo-lithographic maps made for the Surveyor-General's office at Melbourne in two or three hours, and reproducible ad libitum, were shewn as proofs of what could be thus effected. After entering into a variety of other features presented to him by his subject, Mr. Freeman briefly made a few remarks on the photographic pictures which were exhibited in the hall-amongst which, by the kindness of Mr. Clark, were the beautiful photographic reproductions of Raphael's celebrated cartoons. 

The lecturer concluded by a spirited eulogium upon photography, not only as applied to the practical purposes of everyday life, but also, when properly studied and practised-as on important branch of intellectual art. A vote of thanks was given by acclamation, at the conclusion of the lecture, and Mr. Freeman was for some time surrounded by a large number of those who had been present during the lecture, and who were evidently much interested by the objects he then exhibited and explained to them.

MR. FREEMAN'S LECTURE ON PHOTOGRAPHY. (1860, June 27). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 7. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13042433


Thirteen years ago, or thereabouts, a gentle-man from Boston, United States, came to Melbourne, with the view to practise the art of portrait-taking by means of sunlight. These pictures were called daguerreotypes. They were taken on copper plates, having a highly-polished silver surface, and could be seen to advantage only when held at a particular angle. The plate was, indeed, most useful as a looking-glass; and old unsaleable stocks of them have since been largely used for the purpose of showing the " portrait of a gorilla." Sometimes they are to be met with also as forming part of the stem of a " silver-mounted pipe."

The gentleman from Boston was Mr. P. M. Batchelder. He established himself in Collins-street east, and his portrait rooms in a very few years became a household word throughout Victoria. The daguerreotype portrait was quickly superseded by the portrait on glass, known amongst photographers as the collodion picture, or positive. The process was entirely new. It was unlike the daguerreotype in all its stages-the materials used being every one essentially different. This revolution in the photographic business left heaps of the old practitioners in the rear, new men taking the lead : many of these to be again beaten out of the field by a far greater revolution soon to follow-that which remains in force to the present day, and which appeals likely to remain an institution for many years to come. In all these changes Batchelder kept the lead, having the art of seeing skill in others, and being quick to avail himself of it. During the positive era, our first Parliament under the new constitution was elected. It was in contemplation by Mr. W. Strutt, an excellent artist at that time residing in Melbourne, to paint a grand historical picture of the opening of that Parliament, and for this purpose Batchelder volunteered to photograph every member of both Chambers, together with all the officers of Parliament, the foreign consuls, the military officers, and others taking part in the ceremony. Some scores of photo-graphs were thus taken, all of a large size, but the work became so formidable that Mr. Strutt despaired of making it profitable, and abandoned the labour. Batchelder's collection long formed the great show of Collins-street. All who heard of it went to see it. The portraits formed a highly interesting gallery. The collection is still almost entire, a great portion of it being carefully preserved by the Hon. J. P. Fawkner, and the remainder in the possession of the proprietor of Punch.

Now came the third phase of photography, to which we have alluded. Positive pictures were to be snuffed out, and negatives were to take their place. It was to witness the process of taking a negative, and to see it printed from, that we lately spent an hour with a photographer. On a bright forenoon the writer found himself at 41 Collins-street east. He entered a large reception room, hung on all sides with beautiful specimens of the photographic art; here a portrait the size of life, there an innumerable host of cartes-de-visite. He found himself in company with Sir Charles Darling, and Sir Henry Barkly, the judges, members of Parliament, and distinguished and well-known colonists from every quarter -all in excellent sun prints. Many ladies graced the scene, and a collection of fancy dress portraits from a late mayor's bill kept him occupied and interested until he heard a whistle through a speaking tube, and then, walking upstairs, the lion's den was entered.

We are supposed to want our carte-de-visita taken. We enter the operating-room, and being met on the threshold by the operator, we are taken under his charge and conveyed through the whole process of taking a photograph. We follow him into the little room, and shut the door. We are now in the dark room, for although lighted from a yellow window sufficiently for us to see what is going on, yet so far as photography is concerned this room is quite dark. The yellow rays have no power whatever, even upon the highly-sensitive materials used by photographers. Hence it has been recommended to ladies who tan easily, or whose faces become covered with freckles when exposed to the sun, that if they wore yellow veils the sun would not hurt them, and our chemists explain the reason of this in a very simple way, which we need not detail. Being in this dark room, the operator takes hold of a piece of glass, cleaned to perfection, and holding it by a coiner, pours upon the centre of it a yellow-looking fluid. This slowly, like thick oil, tracts its way over the surface of the glass-the surplus liquid being drained from a corner of the plate into the bottle again. Now the gloss appears covered with a trans-parent film, something like a coating of hoar frost on a window- pane. The plate is then laid on a dipper, or long strip of glass, with a ledge at the bottom, and is gently slid into a bath. It is covered up with a piece of black velvet, to keep out the light ; and there we will leave it for a minute or two, until we here explained the simple process we have just witnessed. The glass we have just shut up has been rubbed for a length of time with a mixture of rotten-stone and spirits of wine, until every particle of greasy matter has been removed from its surface. The fluid poured over the glass was collodion, composed of gun-cotton, alcohol, and æther, iodised with a little iodide of potassium, iodide of cadmium, and bromide of cadmium. Now we take the plate out of the bath. This bath is composed of nitrate of silver, so many ounces dissolved in dis-tilled water. Distilled water-note that fact. Purity and cleanliness throughout the process are of the first consequence. The glass is removed from the bath, and is put into a little wooden frame, or slide -collodion side downwards, and over it is shut a little door, excluding even the faintest glimmer of light. The collodion covering that glass is now so highly sensitive to light that if the faintest lay reaches it the labour is lost. Emerging from the dark room into a flood of light being under a large sky-window-we sit down in a chair; the operator points the camera towards us, he adjusts his lens so as to bring the image into exact focus on a piece of ground glass, and when he sees the object well and sharply defined he lifts from its place in the camera the ground-glass screen, and places instead thereof the frame containing the sensitive plate. We sit quite still, the slide covering the plate is withdrawn, the image is reflected on to it through the lens for a few seconds ; the slide is then gently replaced, the frame withdrawn from the camera, and we are again hurried into the dark room. When there, the plate is taken out of the frame and placed on a holder made of india rubber. The glass is not altered in appearance-it looks now exactly as it was when placed in the dark frame. Not so, however, for we now witness a beautiful and highly interesting sight. 

A small glass cream-jug, filled with a clear white looking liquid, is taken into the right hand of the operator, and with a quick unhesitating motion some of this liquid is dashed over the surface of the glass plate. Behold a piece of necromancy. From the film cover-ing the glass slowly and gradually is developed a distinct picture of some one sitting in a chair. Gradually it emerges, yet more distinct, until the operator knows that he must stop the development, and with this object lets off upon the plate a gentle stream of water. After a good washing, the plate is again transferred to a glass dipper, and this time plunged into another bath, filled with a solution of by posulphate of soda. This is the fixing bath. Let the plate re-main there for a few seconds, until we see what the liquid was which Mr. Operator dashed from his cream-jug. He calls it his " devel"-that is what it is labelled as. This is his short way of speaking of a developing solution, composed of one of many recipes given for this purpose, chiefly it may be mentioned of photo-sulphate of iron, glacial acetic acid, and water. Now take the plate from the fixing bath, wash it thoroughly with water, letting the flow of a half-inch tap fall full upon it for five minutes, and then the negative is completed, so far as the operator is concerned. He asks our name, and labelling the plate therewith, he passes the negative on to an-other room, whither we follow it.

By the time we have followed the negative into the printing-room, as it is called, a youth has taken possession of the plate and is holding it over a gas jet, moving the plate all the while until the surface becomes dry. Then it is varnished. A thin amber-coloured varnish is poured over the plate, much in the same way as the collodion was poured on in a previous stage. This varnish becomes quite hard almost as soon as it is poured on to the warm plate. The negative is then ready for printing. By this last term we do not mean any operation like the science of old Caxton -a far older and better-known printer is here invoked - the sun. This is photography-sun-printing (or, as our modern dictionaries have it, " from the Greek, phos, light, and grapho, to describe"). Now, how shall we describe this strange process? The lad who shows us the process treats his art like any other mechanic. The novelty to him has worn off, only the bare routine being left whereby he earns his daily bread. And to how many thousands has this art brought that for which so many pray, " Daily bread." This and many other things we owe to the kings of the present age-the chemists.

The plate is now put into a neat little frame, over the varnished surface is placed a piece of highly-glazed white paper, over that is covered a padding of blotting-paper, and then the whole is pressed down with a wooden back fitted with springs to keep the pressure equal. Exposing the plate in this condition to a strong light we will leave it until we in-quire about the " highly-glazed white paper." The glaze is caused by a coating of albumen, say white of eggs, &c, and this paper being floated on a solution of nitrate of silver for about three minutes, and allowed to dry in the dark, becomes very sensitive to light. The sheet being dry, is cut into slips of suit-able size, and is then used for printing or receiving the impression of the negative. A negative is nature reversed, everything is represented exactly as it is not. White is made black, and black white. But when this negative is placed over the sensitive paper the black part is too dense for the light to get through, and thus the paper cannot be changed by the action of light, and remains white, the blacks being transparent let the light through readily. From a white the paper gradually becomes of a pinkish hue. changing rapidly until it assumes a dark bronzed look, the shadows being dull and heavy. The printer knows when to stop the exposure, and then he takes the frame into a darkened room, removes the paper and places it into a box containing all the prints he has taken from the frames during the day. Not more than from six to twelve impressions can be got from a negative in a day. The lid of the box containing the prints is kept closed so as to keep the light away from the sensitive paper. Twice a day these prints are taken into a yellow room, and each print is cut and squared to the required size. They are then conveyed into the toning room. Here they are put into a gutta percha dish full of water, and are well washed. The water assumes a milky appearance, this being caused by the nitrate of silver released from the paper. Being washed in several changes of water until the milkiness is all gone, the prints are put into the toning bath (composed of chloride of gold, chloride of lime, &c.) Here they are kept for a few minutes, during which time they gradually tone down to any colour, from a red-brick to a dusky- slate. The art of this part of the operation lies in knowing when to stop-a difficult art to learn in many walks of life. As the prints are toned they are thrown into a dish of cold water. When all toned they are removed from the water and soused into a dish containing a solution of hyposulphate of soda. This is the fixing bath, and so powerful is it in its operation that if the prints are allowed to remain too long in it they vanish-the paper becomes a dirty-white, with little evidence of all the labour bestowed upon it! About ten minutes or a quarter of an hour is the time required to fix the prints, and then they are taken out of the hypo, and pitched into a washing-pan. A flow of the Yan Yean is let on to them, and they are kept whirling around the pan, getting thoroughly washed, for five or six hours, or perhaps all night Then these prints are taken out and mounted on cards in the form in which we see them everywhere, in albums, in every house, and in every tent-there is nothing more universal, in fact, than these cards. And yet we don't call them cards-we borrow a name from the French, and call them cartes de visite. Nor do we use them as visiting cards, but as interchanges of friendship, as tokens of affection, as means of communicating with our friends far away - giving them some gleam of pleasure more than can be got out of a monthly pen-and-ink letter.

But we have not done yet. The portraits when mounted on cards are dried carefully, and then put through a press, by which means that smooth and finished appearance is given to them. Then they are passed over to the office, where each card undergoes a careful scrutiny ; those with the slightest defect being rejected. The cards are then made up in packets, labelled with the name of the person, and then forwarded by post, or put away in a rack until called for. We amuse ourselves during this process of sorting by observing the various attitudes and difference of expression on these portraits ; but we must violate none of the secrets of our photographer contained in this memorial of his labour. A few words about the photographs we saw as works of art. 

When Mr. Batchelder felt that the negative process was likely to make headway, he had the good fortune to find an unrivalled practitioner on the spot. This was Mr. F. A. Dunn, a chemist by profession, and by experience an able photographer. His views of Raglan Castle, Tintern Abbey, and other celebrated places in England, received the most flattering notices of the London press during the photographic Exhibition of 1861. His portraits are distinguished by a wonderful accuracy of detail and sharpness, and Mr. Batchelder seeing this, seized upon Mr. Dunn as his chief operator. To him, the late well-known firm of Batchelder and Co. owed its reputation for good portraits; and it was under Mr. Dunn's charge that we spent our first " hour with a photographer." Mr. Batchelder having retired from business on the fruits of the ample patronage he received when in Melbourne, has returned to Boston, and there fixed himself in comfort, leaving Mr. Dunn as one of the partners in the business he so largely contributed to build up to its present proportions.

When we entered the reception-room we spoke of life-sized pictures. This curious fact in photography is one of recent growth, and the process deserves some explanation. A negative of the ordinary kind is taken and put into a camera, very much as a dis-solving view is placed in a lantern. The sun is directed through the lens of a large magnifier by means of a reflector, and the image on the negative is thus thrown on to a screen. On this screen is spread the pre-pared paper which receives the image, or it may be reflected on to canvas. The figure being enlarged to the size required and fixed on paper or canvas, is then passed over to the artist of the establishment, who treats it in any manner required by the person who orders the picture. The painted portraits we saw were the work of a professed portrait painter, Mr. J. Botterill, a gentleman of over twenty years' experience in his art, and bequeathed, as it were, by Mr. Strutt to all the first educational establishments in Melbourne when that gentleman decided upon returning to England. Mr. Botterill has now retired from the practise of his profession, except in connexion with the firm of which he is now a partner ; and the miniatures, kit-cats, and other portraits painted by him, whether in oil, water-colour, or mezzotint, fully deserve what they are receiving-a wide reputation.

AN HOUR WITH A PHOTOGRAPHER. (1865, September 22). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 1 (Supplement to The Argus). Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5765761 

Photographers of Early Pittwater: Henry King - threads collected and collated by A J Guesdon, 2019