Monday, 4 August 2008

William Collie of Blenheim

William Collie was a well respected photographer who lived and worked in Blenheim for many years, starting possibly as early as 1858 as a bookseller, and as a photographer in 1860. The Auckland Library's Photographers Database states that he initially employed William Henry Macey as a manager, entering into a partnership (Collie & Macey) with him in 1870. After 1874, the business in Blenheim was bought out by Macey, but Collie operated under his own name until c. 1880. It is not clear whether the W. Collie of Napier (1866-1880s) listed by Hardwicke Knight in New Zealand Photographers - A Selection (publ. 1881 by Allied Press) is the same person, but it does seem likely.

Image © and collection of Brett Payne

The vignetted head-and-shoulders carte de visite portrait of a middle-aged woman shown above, taken in William Collie's Blenheim studio, is very obviously from the mid- to late 1870s. The woman's clothing style, with rounded shoulders, elaborate lace collar (there is possibly a second, larger, dark lace collar underneath) is typical of the early to mid-1870s; the vignetted cameo portrait was also became very popular in the early to mid-1870s; the design on the reverse of the card mount (see below), as well as the fact that it has rounded corners, suggest rather a date of mid- to late 1870s. Reading the text on the back of the mount (187...) confirms that it was at least printed for use in the 1870s.

Image © and collection of Brett Payne

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