This group of rare large format collodion negatives were made by the Freeman Brother's Studio between 1865 and 1880. It was established as the 'Freeman Brothers and Wheeler' by William Freeman and his brother James in George Street in 1854; it was still running nearly a 150 years later.
One of the keys to their success was their continual upgrading of their equipment and premises to ensure they delivered the latest techniques. As a result they attracted the cultural elite of Sydney to their studios where they were photographed using the techniques of the day. Thus surviving examples can be found as daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, collodion glass plates, flexible sheet negatives all of which were then used to make albumen, gelatin and platinum prints on card, glass, and paper.
The scale of their enterprise did not seem to affect the quality of the work they produced; in fact the studio from its inception spared no effort in touching up, and printing, their photographic prints. This combination of high quality work and patronage by the elite of Sydney makes their early work excellent examples of nineteenth-century Australian photography, illustrated by their winning silver and bronze medals at the London International Exhibition in 1862.
Geoff Barker, Curatorial, November 2011