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Carte de Visite photograph of an Australian cricket team
Hamilton (Victoria): Dawson, circa, 1870. Small carte de visite photograph, 102 x 62 mm., embossed in blind lower left; very good. Wonderful formal photograph of an Australian cricket team from rural Victoria circa 1870, all twelve men posed casually in their whites, although one is wearing a candy-stripe jacket and another - the only man holding a cricket bat - is in a dark coat. Patrick Dawson may have been active by the early 1850s, but it is certain that by 1866 he had his own photographic studios in Grey Street, Hamilton and Liebig Street, Warnambool, because he gave both addresses when exhibiting at the 1866 Melbourne Intercolonial Exhibition. Around that time Hamilton became his main studio. The Dictionary of Australian Art suggests that Dawson was out of business by 1872. 'At Warrnambool in October 1867 the members of the Aboriginal cricket team about to tour England were individually photographed by Dawson together with their white managers. Only five of the thirteen Aborigines were posed in cricket flannels or holding bat or ball (and one of them did not sail to England); the rest were clad in ludicrously inappropriate athletics outfits and posed with boomerangs, spears and spear throwers, clubs and shields. The Europeans managing the team, on the other hand, were dressed in exemplary fashion: one as a (non-playing) cricketer, the second as a business manager (taken later seated in a studio) and the third as a gent in a top hat with bat tucked casually under his arm' (DAAO). It seems likely that the present image relates to the photographer Dawson's more famous portraits of the Indigenous Australian cricket team, taken before they toured England in 1867, and it is interesting to compare those portraits with the present team shot, which shows a local Victorian eleven. The figure in the foreground of this photograph bears a more than passing resemblance to one of the white managers photographed by Dawson as part of the Aboriginal tour, and such a connection seems very likely given the confluence of timing.
      [Bookseller: Hordern House Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2014-08-08           Check availability:      Biblio    

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