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H8504 Photographic negatives (28) and wooden chest, collodion / glass / wood, Freeman Brothers Studio, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1865-1875. Click to enlarge.

Photographic negatives by Freeman Brothers Studio

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


Object No.


Object Statement

Photographic negatives (28) and wooden chest, collodion / glass / wood, Freeman Brothers Studio, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1865-1875

Physical Description

Photographic negatives and wooden chest once containing 28 portraits, collodion / glass, Freeman Brothers Studio, Sydney Australia, 1865-1875

29 portraits each 20" x 16", some broken, all in wooden chest measuring 25 1/2" x 17 1/2".



510 mm


410 mm



Collodion emulson on on large plate glass negatives.



These negatives were acquired from Freeman Borthers Studio in 1969. In 2011 they were moved from a storage chest in Castle Hill and given part numbers and basic conservation treatments. They were then catalogued then digitised.


Credit Line

Gift of Freemans Studios, 1969

Acquisition Date

6 February 1969

Cite this Object


Photographic negatives by Freeman Brothers Studio 2020, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 19 October 2020, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Photographic negatives by Freeman Brothers Studio |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=19 October 2020 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}


This object record is currently incomplete. Other information may exist in a non-digital form. The Museum continues to update and add new research to collection records.