Monday, 11 April 2011

George Hoby, Part 3: The soldiers come to town

In part 2, George Hoby spent much of his first three years as a photographer in Nelson.

Image © National Library of New Zealand & courtesy of Papers Past
The Taranaki Herald, Saturday, 13 February 1864

In early 1864, after an exploratory visit back to Taranaki, George Hoby advised his Nelson customers that he would be absent during the month of February [33]. By the middle of that month he was advertising a "new gallery" in Courtenay Street, New Plymouth [34]. Over the next twelve months he continued to traipse back and forth between New Plymouth and Nelson and, since he ceased advertising in the Nelson newspapers, it is assumed that he was no longer operating there. In late October he put his Nelson freehold property, "with house and two shops" in Trafalgar Street on the market [35].

Image © National Library of New Zealand & courtesy of Papers Past
The Taranaki Herald, Saturday, 11 February 1865

While waiting for a buyer in Nelson, he was building a new studio in Devon Street, New Plymouth, and announced its opening on 10th February [36]. He also erected a house for the family on Woolcombe Terrace, so that Hannah and the younger children were able to make their way back to New Plymouth aboard the S.S. Otago on 23rd May, their five year exile in Nelson at an end [4,37].

Image © and courtesy of Puke Ariki Museum Image © and courtesy of Puke Ariki Museum
CDV portraits of 43rd Regt. soldiers by Hoby, Taranaki, c. early 1865
Lt. A. Longley [38] and Major F.M. Colvile [39]

George Hoby's decision to move permanently back to Taranaki may have been influenced by the arrival of more Imperial troops in the district, in particular the 43rd and 70th Regiments in mid-November 1864.

Image © and courtesy of Puke Ariki Museum Image © and courtesy of Puke Ariki Museum
Adj. H.C. Talbot and Ens. T.C. Miller [40] and Capt. F.C. Rowan [41]

The four carte de visite portraits shown above all depict soldiers from the 43rd Regiment, and were most likely taken at Hoby's Devon Street studio in early 1865. They must date from prior to that unit's departure from New Plymouth in February-March 1866.

Image © and courtesy of Puke Ariki Museum
Reverse of carte de visite by Mr. Hoby, Photo.,
Taranaki, New Zealand, c.1865 [39]

Several features of the studio setting are shared by two or more of the portraits: plain back wall (4) with moulded skirting board (2), curtain (4), patterned carpet (2), waist-high pedestal (3) and a chair (2). [38,39,40,41]

Image © and courtesy of Puke Ariki Museum Image © and courtesy of Puke Ariki Museum
CDV portraits of soldiers by Hoby, Taranaki, c. early 1865
Capt. W.A. Hussey (Taranaki Military Settlers) [42] and Capt. A.R. Close (43rd Regiment) [43]

A further two carte de visite portraits by George Hoby in the Puke Ariki collection, in a slightly different style - half-length and displaying a more spartan studio setting - were almost certainly also taken in early 1865 [42,43]. Captain Hussey was killed at Omaru-hakeke, near Wairoa on the East Coast on 25th December 1865 [44], and Captain Close on 28th July 1865, inland of the Warea Redoubt in Taranaki [45].

Image © National Library of New Zealand & courtesy of Papers Past
The Taranaki Herald, Saturday, 20 May 1865

In May he advertised, "A large number of likenesses having accumulated, Mr. H. offers them at 1s. each," which suggests that he may have been offering portraits of the soldiers for general sale [46]. Several cartes de visite in the Museum of New Zealand/Te Papa Tongarewa collection, including one of Hussey attributed to George Hoby [47], are identical images to those in the Puke Ariki collection shown above [48,49], although most have additional strips of paper with the names and affiliations of the subjects affixed to the foot of the card mount.

It is obvious that a copies were indeed made, probably with collectors in mind, but when and by whom remains unclear. The Te Papa copies are a small sample from a large photographic album depicting several hundred "Soldiers of the Queen" who served in New Zealand during the Maori Wars, compiled by W.F Gordon of New Plymouth around 1900, but possibly collected by him some years earlier [50].

Image © and courtesy of Puke Ariki Museum
CDV portrait of Capt. E.F. Hemingway, 43rd Regiment, c.1865-1866
attributed to Arthur Hoby [51]

A carte de visite photo of Captain Hemingway of the 43rd Regiment in the Puke Ariki Museum collection is attributed to Arthur Hoby [51]. Philip Duke points out that Arthur would have been in his early teens at the time it was taken, and there is no other evidence of him working as a photographer. Despite discussing his father's photographic business at some length in his memoirs, he makes no mention of his own involvement [4], leaving the attribution of this portrait as something of a mystery.

In Part 4, I investigate a number of unattributed portraits which are almost certainly also from George Hoby's New Plymouth studio.

References

[4] Hoby, Arthur (1937) Memoirs of Arthur Hoby, Transcript of original held by Alexander Turnbull Library, Courtesy of Philip Duke.

[33] New Advertisements, Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle, 19 January 1864, p.2.

[34] New Advertisements, Taranaki Herald, 13 February 1864, p.2.

[35] New Advertisements, Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle, 22 October 1864, p.2.

[36] Mr. Hoby, Photographic Artist. (Advertisement), Taranaki Herald, 11 February 1865, p.2.

[37] Shipping Intelligence. Arrivals, Taranaki Herald, 27 May 1865, p.2.

[38] Photographic portrait of Lieutenant Arthur Longley, 43rd Regiment, Carte de visite by G. Hoby, New Plymouth, Taranaki, New Zealand, c.1865, Acc. No. PHO2008-1779, Puke Ariki Museum.

[39] Photographic portrait of Major Fiennes Middleton Colvile, 43rd Regiment, Carte de visite by G. Hoby, New Plymouth, Taranaki, New Zealand, c.1865, Acc. No. PHO2008-1657, Puke Ariki Museum.

[40] Photographic portrait of Captain Henry Charles Talbot and Lieutenant Taverner Charles Miller, 43rd Regiment, Carte de visite by G. Hoby, New Plymouth, Taranaki, New Zealand, c.1865, Acc. No. PHO2008-552, Puke Ariki Museum.

[41] Photographic portrait of Captain Frederick Charles Rowan, 43rd Regiment, Carte de visite by G. Hoby, New Plymouth, Taranaki, New Zealand, c.1865, Acc. No. PHO2008-1799, Puke Ariki Museum.

[42] Photographic portrait of Captain William Augustus Hussey, Taranaki Military Settlers, Carte de visite by G. Hoby, New Plymouth, Taranaki, New Zealand, c.1865, Acc. No. PHO2008-1739, Puke Ariki Museum.

[43] Photographic portrait of Captain Arthur R. Close, 43rd Regiment, Carte de visite by G. Hoby, New Plymouth, Taranaki, New Zealand, c.1865, Acc. No. PHO2008-1780, Puke Ariki Museum.

[44] Cowan, James (1922), The New Zealand Wars: A History of the Maori Campaigns and the Pioneering Periods: Volume II (1865-1872), Wellington, New Zealand: R.E. Owen.

[45] Wells, B. (1878) The History of Taranaki, Early New Zealand Books, The University of Auckland Library.

[46] Mr. Hoby, Photographer, Devon-street (Advertisement), Taranaki Herald, 20 May 1865, p.2.

[47] Photographic portrait of Captain Hussey, Taranaki Military Settlers, Carte de visite (Image 61x92mm; Mount 63x102mm) by G. Hoby, New Plymouth, Taranaki, New Zealand, c.1865, Acc. No. O.013013, Museum of New Zealand/Te Papa Tongarewa.

[48] Photographic portrait of Captains Talbot and Miller, 43rd Regiment, Carte de visite by G. Hoby, New Plymouth, Taranaki, New Zealand, c.1865, Acc. No. O.011906, Museum of New Zealand/Te Papa Tongarewa.

[49] Photographic portrait of Colonel Colvile, 43rd Regiment, Carte de visite by G. Hoby, New Plymouth, Taranaki, New Zealand, c.1865, Acc. No. O.012382/01, Museum of New Zealand/Te Papa Tongarewa.

[50] Gordon, W.F. (1900), Some "Soldiers of the Queen" who served in the Maori Wars and other notable persons connected herewith, Photographic album, Acc. No. AL.000076, Museum of New Zealand/Te Papa Tongarewa.

[51] Photographic portrait of Captain Edward Frederic Hemingway, 43rd Regiment, Carte de visite by Arthur Hoby, New Plymouth, Taranaki, New Zealand, c.1865, Acc. No. PHO2008-618, Puke Ariki Museum.

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