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Australian art


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George Cherry


1820 - 1878


George Cherry was a professional photographer, inventor and penal officer. Born in England, he arrived in Australia in 1848 in Hobart Town, where he established a daguerreotype studio until taking up the post of assistant superintendant of convicts on Norfolk Island in 1849. While on Norfolk Island, Cherry took daguerreotype views which he reproduced as lithographs. His objection to the treatment of inmates in the penal colony led to his departure from Norfolk Island and he resettled in Hobart Town in 1852. He established a second daguerreotype studio and gallery there in 1854. He advertised ‘Photographic Portraits on paper, glass and ivory, and on canvas from life to locket size, highly finished in Crayon, Water or Oil Colours and warranted to be as durable as the most permanent oil paintings’. A photograph of Bishop Nixon, enlarged to 75.5 x 65.5 cm, and overpainted by John Dixon, is one of his most magisterial productions and was exhibited at the 1866 Intercolonial Exhibition in Melbourne. In 1867 Cherry purchased Frith & Co’s collection of portrait negatives, thus acquiring their clientele. The following year he was one of the photographers appointed to document the Duke of Edinburgh’s Tasmanian tour.

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.




Media category


Materials used

carte de visite


5.6 x 9.4 cm image; 6.3 x 10.6 cm mount card

Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.


Purchased 2014


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

George Cherry

Works in the collection


Shown in 1 exhibition

Exhibition history