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





Charles Woolley


1834 – 1922

No image
  • Details

    Media category
    Materials used
    carte de visite
    9.4 x 5.5 cm image; 10.2 x 6.2 cm mount card
    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Purchased 2014
    Not on display
    Accession number
    Unable to display image due to cultural restrictions
    Artist information
    Charles Woolley

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Charles Woolley was a prolific portrait and views photographer based in Hobart from about 1860 until about 1875. He began experimenting with the medium in the mid 1850s and was working professionally within five years. In 1866 he took the series of famous portraits of the Tasmanian Aboriginal people, Truganini, William Lanne, Wapperty, Pattie, and Bessie Clark which were later reprinted by J W Beattie. These portraits were exhibited in the 1866 Melbourne Intercolonial Exhibition and the 1875 Victorian Intercolonial exhibition. Some of Woolley’s portrait photographs were over-painted, for example Henry Dowling’s portrait of Sir Richard Dry which was painted in England from a Woolley photograph. He also photographed Louisa Ann Meredith’s 1866 Christmas tableaux vivants.

    A carte de visite is a stiff card of about 11.4 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.

Other works by Charles Woolley