Andrew Cunningham was a painter, decorator and professional photographer. Born in Scotland, he was in Armidale, New South Wales by 1856 and by 1857 was advertising his services in painting, ornamental work and paper-hanging. He was working as Armidale’s resident photographer by 1859 and in 1870 claimed to have taken the only photograph of the body of bushranger Captain Thunderbolt (Fred Ward) when he was shot by an off duty policeman at nearby Uralla. Cunningham produced portraits and views of the Armidale area, often in carte de visite form.
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.
carte de visite
5.5 x 9.3 cm image; 6.2 x 10.2 cm mount card
Signature & date
Signed c. image, black ink "AC". Not dated.
Not on display