Friday, 8 August 2008

F.A. Coxhead of Dunedin

Frank Arnold Coxhead was born in 1851 in London, England, and emigrated to New Zealand with his parents and brothers in 1858. He was working as a photographer in Dunedin by 1872, and operated a studio in Princes Street from 1885 until at least 1898, after which he is believed to have emigrated to the United States. He was, during part of this period, in partnership with his brothers Harray and William. Hardwicke Knight in his biography of Coxhead (in New Zealand Photographers. A Selection, Allied Press, 1981) states that he made his mark "with his fine landscape work," and includes several examples.

Image © and collection of Brett Payne

This cabinet card portrait of a young man is inscribed in the reverse with the words, "Young chap Hay killed in Jamaica." Although the writing has been done in ball point pen, which could not have been in the period the portrait was taken, it appears to have been written over an earlier pencilled inscription which may have been more contemporary with the image. The photograph was an auction purchase, and its provenance is unknown, therefore providing no clues as to the identity of young Mr Hay.

Image © and collection of Brett Payne

The design on the reverse is typical of those being produced and used in the mid- to late 1890s. The Auckland City Library's Photographers Database states that the Grand Photo Gallery and Parlors opened in Princes Street, Dunedin 17 March 1890. I would guess that the portrait was taken around 1893-1898. The young man looks to be around 17-20 years old, so I estimate that he was born c. 1873-1881. If anyone has a family member named Hay, born around this time, who died in Jamaica, I would like to hear from you. (Email)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post a Comment

Join my blog network
on Facebook