We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.





Barcroft Capel Boake

Ireland, Australia

1838 – 1921

  • Details

    Media category
    Materials used
    carte de visite
    4.7 x 4.2 cm image (irreg.); 9.4 x 5.9 cm sheet; 10.5 x 6.3 cm mount card
    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Purchased 2014
    Not on display
    Accession number

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Barcroft Capel Boake

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Barcroft Capel Boake was born in Dublin and immigrated to Australia around 1858, spending most of his working life in Sydney. He had a successful photographic business while also working as Captain in the 7th Battery of New South Wales Voluntary Artillery. Boake made portraits and views and is now best known for his monumental mosaic of the returning New South Wales contingent of the Soudan campaign from c1890 (the contingent arrived after the event). He also practiced in a number of different photographic techniques including the heliograph and the instantaneous process. Despite the fierce competition from other photographic studios in Sydney, Boake maintained a reputation for artistic quality and fineness of execution.

    A carte de visite is a stiff card of about 10 x 6.4 cm, with an attached paper photograph, invented in 1854 by André-Adolphe-Eugène Disderi. They were introduced into Australia in 1859 by William Blackwood with albums arriving in 1860, aiding the collection and distribution of multiple cartes. Cartes were usually portraits and were made by the millions worldwide. Multi-lens, or ‘multiplying’ cameras were introduced in the 1860s, which were capable of producing from 2 to 32 images in quick succession, dramatically increasing the number of cartes de visite that could be made from a single photographic plate. They were easily reproduced by making paper contact prints from the glass plates, which were then cut and pasted to card.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

Other works by Barcroft Capel Boake

See all 8 works