The photographic firm of Johnstone, O’Shannessy & Co. was founded by Henry James Johnstone (b.1835), a flamboyant character who was also a popular painter. In the late 1870s, he returned to England, via the USA, leaving management of his photographic firm to his business partner Emily O’Shannessy (c.1850-1921) and her husband George Hasler (1841-97).
The SLV holds numerous examples of the portrait photographs produced by the company, which later became highly fashionable and successful, especially during the 1880s, eventually closing its doors in 1905.
The firm was also responsible for a number of the portraits of colonial governors etc. commissioned for the pre-Felton NGV, dating from the 1860s-early 70s: see “Oval Portrait” series as noted above.
For Johnstone, O’Shannessy & Co., see http://www.daao.org.au/bio/henry-james-johnstone/biography/ (a detailed biography of Johnstone by Joan Kerr, first written in 1992 and since updated); http://www.daao.org.au/bio/miss-oshaughnessy/ and http://www.daao.org.au/bio/george-hasler/