Carl Walter: William Barak, from Portraits of Coranderkk Aboriginals, presented by the Commissioners of the Melbourne Intercolonial Exhibition, 1866 (SLV H91.1/6) 



Although the NGV’s Department of Photography was established only in 1967 (the first such department in a major Australian art museum), photography was already a significant area of collecting in the pre-Felton library/gallery, with various examples, including important albums, donated or acquired from the outset – little more than two decades after the invention of the medium in its modern form.

Christine Downer (in The First Collections, 1992, pp.73ff.) points out that Redmond Barry himself appreciated photography, and ordered a number of significant examples for the library’s initial collections of visual material: see below under Fenton and Macpherson in particular.

The NGV’s Annual Report for 1870 notes that over 700 photographs were already in the collection by that date. Further significant groups of early photographs by Bourne & Shepherd, Watkins, and others, all still preserved in the SLV, were added from 1871 onwards.

Private benefactors played a significant role in these early acquisitions: see e.g. donor entries for Edward Maunde Thompson and Henry Coathupe Mais.

By 1904/5 the photography collection was obviously already substantial and significant, even leaving to one side the various photographic reproductions of other works of art accumulated during the period (for a summary of that material, not catalogued here, see Reproductions and copies).


Individual entries

Alinari (& others) Photographs of Central & Northern Italy {1860-61} SLV [PH]

Baldus & Bisson frères France and Belgium {1860-61} SLV [PH]
Batchelder & Co., & others: Fasti Victorienses {c.1865} SLV [PH]
Bernard & Co. First Parliament  1901 {1902} SLV [PH]
Bisson frères Switzerland and America {1860} SLV [PH]
Bourne & Shepherd Northern India and Kashmir {1871} SLV [PH]
Brogi Ricordi di Napoli {c.1880?} SLV [PH]

Chuck Explorers and Early Colonists of Victoria 1872 {1880} SLV [PH]

Clifford, Robertson & Beato Photographs of Spain, Greece & Turkey {c.1860} SLV [PH]

Dawson Australian Aboriginal Cricketers 1867 {1896} SLV [PH]
Dufty Brothers Views of Fiji {1873?} SLV [PH]

Fenton, Bedford & others Cathedrals and Abbeys in England and Scotland {1860} SLV [PH]
Fenton, Bedford & others England and Wales {1860} SLV [PH]
Fenton & others Palaces, Castles and Seats in England {1860} SLV [PH]
Freeman Brothers & Prout: Sir Hercules Robinson 1873 {1874} SLV [PH]
Frith Syria & Palestine {1860} SLV [PH]
Frith Ancient Egypt {c.1870} SLV [PH]
Frith Modern Egypt {c.1870} SLV [PH]
Frith, Robertson & Beato Photographs of Palestine & Egypt {1860} SLV [PH]

Johnstone, O’Shannessy & Co. Sir George Verdon {1896} SLV [PH]

Macpherson Photographs of Rome {1860/61} SLV [PH]
Maull & Fox Portrait of Edward Jones Brewster {1901} SLV [PH]

Ponti Photographs of Venice {1860} SLV [PH]

Powers (L.) & others Views of Florence {c.1888} SLV [PH]
Powers (L.) & others Photographs of Rome etc. {c.1888} SLV [PH]

Shepherd & Robertson Views of Agra, Delhi and Lucknow {1875?} SLV [PH]
Skeen & others Pompei {sic} and Paris {c.1888} SLV [PH]

Walter Portraits of Coranderkk Aboriginals 1866 {1866} SLV [PH]
Watkins Views of California {1871} SLV [PH]

Unknown 9 photographic views of Newcastle, NSW {1872} SLV [PH]
* Unknown 24 views in Devon and Cornwall {1877} Loc? [PH]
* Unknown 32 photographs of New Zealand scenery {1876} Loc? [PH]
* Unknown 600 views of scenery in the USA {1879} Loc? [PH]
* Unknown Inhabitants of Mauritius {1874} Loc? [PH]
* Unknown Portrait of J.P.Fawkner {by 1894} Loc? [PH]
* Unknown Roman monuments (Colosseum etc.) {1875} Loc? [PH]
* Unknown Roman monuments (Pantheon etc.) {1904} Loc? [PH]
* Unknown Stereoscopic views of America etc. {c.1860} Loc? [PH]
* Unknown Views of Grantham, Lincolnshire {1876} Loc? [PH]