Exhibition - 1882

New Zealand International Exhibition, Hagley Park, Christchurch


The 1882 Exhibition was a private venture organised by the Frenchman Jules Joubert and the Englishman R.E.N. Twopeny. Temporary buildings were erected in Hagley Park to house the exhibits that had been gathered from various countries. The Exhibition ran for 14 weeks and attracted crowds of 226,000 between April and July 1882. Many of the art works were sold to local collectors.


In this branch of art the exhibits, although not very numerous, comprise a fairy representative collection from different parts of the Colony, and an opportunity is afforded of comparison with the work of two leading Melbourne photographers. Several specimens are also shown from English the level of equal criticism with the Colonial productions, seeing that they have for the most part been executed for commercial purposes, and have not received the same amount of finish as has been bestowed upon the latter class. We allude more particularly to the exhibits of the London Stereoscopic Company which, although good, are by no means fair average specimens of Home work. It is to be regretted that in so large a building the management has not thought it advisable to set aside a space exclusively for the photographic exhibits which would in that case be easily available for inspection and comparison. As it is, the idea that has been followed appears rather to be to utilise the various frames for the purpose of decorating any blank space there may be, entirely irrespective of classification. The visitor in consequence stumbles unexpectedly upon photographs in the course of his peregrinations, and has probably forgotten whose they were and what they were like before the next collection meets his eye in some out-of-the-way corner. It was originally intended to set aside one of the octagons in the New Zealand portion of the building for the reception of photographs; but this idea has not been carried out, only two exhibitors having placed their frames there.

Among the English productions most worthy of attention is an exhaustive series of views by Messrs F. Frith and Co., of Reigate, Surrey. These are not confined to any particular locality, but include a long list of places and objects of special interest throughout England and the European Continent, and are, as works of art, far and away better than what can be found in nine out of ten of the studios of English landscape photographers. The interiors of many of the most celebrated cathedrals throughout Europe have been reproduced with specially good effect, the arrangement of light in almost every instance being extremely striking. One view; in which Messrs Frith have been more than ordinarily successful, is the celebrated " Salon d'Apollo in the Louvre," an apartment the gigantic dimensions and elaborate decoration of which will be remembered by many Continental travellers. This, among some hundred specimens of the same class of work, may be singled out as a fair sample of Messrs Frith at their best.

above - Apollo Salon, Louvre, Paris.
Frith, Francis (maker)
Whole-plate albumen print from wet collodion glass negative
Museum number:E.208:2492-1994
V&A Images

Amongst the English exhibits may also be mentioned some portraits shown by Mr Chatteris, of Christchurch, from the studio of J. E. Myall, London and Brighton. Those photographs possess the novelty of having been taken by electric light, and are interesting as an example of the utility of this for photographic purposes. It is safe to say that no ordinary spectator would recognise in them any defation from the usual process. They are soft — perhaps remarkably so — and as distinct as could well be desired. Mr Chatteris has also specimens of instantaneous photography.

To turn to Colonial productions; we have from Messrs Lindt and Co. and Tuttle and Co., of Melbourne, excellent collections; the latter sending enough frames to fill an entire bay which has been allotted to them. These consist principally of photographs (boudoir size) of celebrities on the dramatic and operatic stage, and leave very little to be desired in any direction. It is difficult indeed, comparing their work with that of Messrs Lindt (which, by the way, is placed in a totally different part of the building) to arrive at any decisive opinion as to their relative merits. The latter show perhaps on the whole greater nicety of finish and include, moreover, specialities - such as enamelled portrait and specimens of instantaneous photography.

On turning to New Zealand, however it is but fair to say, without the slightest partiality that it suffers in no way by comparison with older countries in this particular branch. There is no reason, on reflection, why it should as the light during a great portion of the year is such as to satisfy the most fastidious artist. For portraits, Messrs Morris and Frost of Dunedin; Hemus and Hanna, of Auckland; and P. Schourup, of Christchurch, are the principal exhibitors. Mr Schourup fills a large case and frame with work that really invites a very lengthy inspection, but where he chiefly commands admiration is in specialities - such as permanent carbon photographs on opal, and in the artistic display of colouring that is made. His are almost the only specimens of coloured photography in the building, but it is safe to say that no one would in any case have succeeded in wresting the palm from him in this respect, had an attempt been made.

A careful comparison of the other three exhibitors leaves not much margin for choice, the work of all being excellent. The two frames shown by Mr Morris, however (which are hung on either side of the entrance arch), have, on the whole, taken precedence in public favour - and deservedly we think. They shown not only softness and depth of tone, but an elaborate finish that is not surpassed, if indeed it is equalled, by any exhibitor in the building. Those sent by Mr Frost, which are found some distance away in the Auckland octagon, save in this latter item, are by no means unworthy of comparison. They represent the best work that we have seen
from his studio, and are certain to meet with favourable attention. A novelty is also on view here in the shape of several portraits enlarged by a new process, in which, considering that this is its first introduction into the Colony, Mr Frost has been singularly successful. The process, which we cannot profess to have entirely mastered, has the effect of producing an original, but resembling at the first glance a lithograph rather than a photographic picture.

In the way of landscape photography, a series of good views of the Lake country are sent by Messrs Hart, Campbell, and Co of Invercargill; whilst Mr Burton,whose proficiency is well recognised, has hung in the concert-hall a collection of photographs of the Purakanui cliffs, showing the line of railway completed and when in progress. These, we believe, were executed for the Government, and have received all the skill and attention that always mark Mr Burton's work.
Otago Daily Times, Issue 6308, 1 May 1882, Page 3


PHOTOGRAPHY. The subject of photography, and the recent inventions in connection therewith, hare excited considerable interest in the Colony of late, so that we may be pardoned for prefacing our notice of the exhibits of this art with a brief reference to the rise and progress of the art itself. Photography had its origin in the attempts of several scientific men, during the early portion of the present century, to fix or copy the images seen in the camera obscura. One of the earliest processes of photography was that of Mr Thomas Wedgewood, who, in 1802, employed for the purpose paper covered with a solution of nitrate of silver. His attempts were not very successful, and for some years afterwards nothing more was attempted in this direction. In 1814, a Frenchman, M. Nioephorus Kiepco attempted to produce pictures by the action of light upon plates of copper, silver-plated and highly polished, and covered with a thin film of asphaltum dissolved in essential oil of lavender. He met with more success than Wedgewood, but with little encouragement from the public. The experiments of M. Daguerre, another Frenchman, from whom the Daguerreotype process took its name, were commenced about 1824. In 1829 he entered into a partnership with M. Niepce, and suggested several improvements in his methods. The latter, however, died, before Uaguerre's invention was made public. In the Daguerreotype process the figure was received on a plate of copper coated with silver, and rendered sensitive by the vapours of iodine and bronin. In 1834 Mr H. Fox Talbot succeeded in taking pictures in a camera upon paper washed with nitrate of silver. Other discoveries and improvements were made from time to time, an important one being the substitution, by M. Niepce de St Victor in 1848, of a plate of glass treated with albumen and nitrate of silver, for the nitrate of silver paper. The collodion process was introduced by Mr Archer in 1850, and was, until the last year or two, the process universally employed. The plate of glass is coated with a film of collodion — a liquid made by dissolving gun cotton in eulphuric ether and alcohol. It is then rendered sensitive by immersion in a solution of nitrate of silver and iodide of potassium, and is placed wot in the camera to receive the impression. The picture is developed by means of acids, and fixed by a solution of hyposulphite of coda. From the "negative" thus obtained "positives" are taken off on paper, specially prepared for the purpose. In the past few years other improvements have been introduced into photography. One of the chief of these is in the piinting, or obtaining of, positives. This is the carbon process, first made of practical use by Mr Swan, a chemist of Newcastle, England. By its use absolute permanency of the pictures has been secured, and they can be "printed" on almost any substance, and on a rounded sue face as well as a flat one. The positive is taken from the negative on a film of what is known as carbon tissue, and is afterwards fixed on the surface intended to finally receive by a species of transfer process. The most important discovery of recent years, however, is the dryplate instantaneous process, invented in England by Mr Bennetts, and improved by other artists, the use of collodion and of the exciting " bath" are dispensed with, the glass plate being coated with an emulsion of nitrate of silver, iodide of ammonium and gelatine. It is used dry, and the negative is developed by the use of alkalies instead of acide, as in the collodion process. The great advantage oft this method is that it is absolutely instantaneous. By its use a picture may be taken literally " in the twinkling of an eye." Under favourable circumstances, the fifteenth of a second is all that is needed. The most fleeting expression of the features can be caught and transferred to the photograph, and the most restless children can have their portraits taken with as much fidelity as if they were statues.

As regards the Exhibition, the best illustrations of tho recent progress of photography are to be found in the productions of Colonial studios, those from England not appearing to the best advantage by comparison. The best work of all is shown in the exhibit of Mr J. W. Lindt, of Melbourne, though New Zealand photographers have no need to be ashamed of their productions. Unlike some classes, the New Zealand exhibits of photography represent nearly every portion of the Colony, from Auckland to Invercargill. Two of these are contributed by Christchurch, which may be congratulated on tho fact that her photographers can produce work of a very high degree of excellence. The most extensive exhibit of the two is that of Mr Schourup, which is shown in a handsome case in the Wellington Octagon, and is without doubt the most tastefully arranged display of the kind in the Exhibition. Most of the pictures aro taken by tho instantaneous process ; the carbon photographs on opal are specially noticeable. The whole of the work is of a high degree of merit. The oard photograph;, of which there is a large and admirable collection, comprise cabinet and carte de visite portraits in great variety of style. Some of them are the likenesses of gentlemen well known in the city and Colony, among them those' of Messrs Rolleston, John Ollivier and Twopeny. The clearness, tone, and artistic finish of all the portraits are excellent. The likenesses are admirable, tho expression of the features having been most happily caught. The photographs of children are especially Charming. Very noticeable is the taste displayed in the posing and grouping of the figures, and also in the accessories, the scenery and surroundings. One or two of tho portraits are in what is called the "Rembrandt" style, the larger

portion of the figure being in the shade. The permanent carbon photographs are a particularly interesting portion of the exhibit, borne of them are printed on what is known as "opal," a white semi-opaque kind of glass. The pictures on this substance have a beautiful ivory-like effect. The even character of the work is best exemplified by a panel containing several vignettes, portraits, and views. This fine piece of work it the more creditable as there is a certain amount of difficulty experienced in procuring a perfect equlity of tint or tone in printing a number of pictures by the carbon process. Other noticeable examples of this kind of work are Borne vases adorned with the fadeless pictures produced by the process. Very beautiful effects are obtained by the use of lamp globes ornamented in a similar manner. The carbon photographs are peculiarly well adapted for colouring. Here it may be mentioned that the coloured portraits shown are possessed of a high degree of artistic merit. The painting of photographs, if not well done, is apt to spoil rather than to improve their appearance. The colouring of these is not only well but admirably done. One vignette portrait, on "opal," that of a lady in evening dress resembles, in purity of colour and delicacy of execution, a well finished ivory miniature. The painting of the ordinary photographs on cards is equally effective. The best example is a portrait of a lady reclining on a grassy knoll. This displays most beautiful work, and has all the effect of a good water-colour drawing, which, indeed, all photographic colouring should resemble. Other instances of the exquisite taste displayed in the tinting of these portraits might easily be cited, but enough has been said to give an idea of the general excellence of the work.
Star, Issue 4407, 9 June 1882, Page 4

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