Glass plate negative, full plate, ‘Union Club, Sydney’, Kerry and Co, Sydney, Australia, c. 1884-1917

Made by Kerry, Charles H in Bligh Street, Sydney, c. 1884-1917.

This photographic negative was published by the Sydney firm Charles Kerry & Co. and is part of the Powerhouse Museum’s Tyrrell collection which contains over 2,900 glass plate negatives by Kerry & Co. Although a few appear to be from the 1880s most were produced between 1892 and 1917. Over this period, and well into the early 1900s, prints from these negatives appeared in many Australian publications and albums of views. In 1903 the company began producing postcards from these negatives, further...

Summary

85/1284-399
Glass negative, full plate, 'Union Club, Sydney', Kerry and Co, Sydney, Australia, c. 1884-1917.

Silver gelatin dry plate glass negative in landscape format. The image depicts the Union Club in Bligh Street, Sydney. The Classical Revival style building dominates the centre of the image. Bligh Street is depicted in the foreground of the image and features kerb and guttering. A gaslight streetlight is depicted in the foreground on the left side of the image. The light has a sign inscribed 'Stand for One Car'. The background of the image depicts the urban environment of Sydney. A building can be seen under construction on the right side of the image and terrace houses can be partially seen on the left side of the image. The caption, studio mark and studio number are inscribed on the reverse of the negative.

The Union Club was located at 2 Bligh Street, Sydney. It was designed by William Wardell in 1884 in Classical Revival style. The three-storey building featured a flat roof with balustraded parapet, a central pediment on the second storey and a colonnaded portico. A second colonnade at the extreme right of the building, depicted in this image was added later by Benjamin Backhouse. The building was later demolished.

11/49 Tyrrell Inventory Number, 753 Kerry Studio Number

Dimensions

215 mm

Production

Charles Kerry was born in 1858 and by 1885 was running a studio in partnership with C. D. Jones. This partnership lasted until 1892, when Charles became sole owner and changed the studio's name to Kerry and Co.

By 1890 the company was employing a number of photographers who would become famous in their own right. George Bell who covered rural New South Wales was employed in 1890 and Harold Bradley was doing outdoor work and covering events around Sydney by 1899.

Kerry continued to work in the field and in 1895 he took photographs of Royal National Park for New South Wales Government, photographed Queensland artesian bores and was employed by the New South Wales Government to travel the state and photograph Indigenous Australians. In 1897 Kerry led the first party to reach the summit of Mt Kosciuszko in winter conditions and photographed the Jenolan caves.

By 1900 Kerry had turned his studio into one of the largest and most respected photographic establishments in the colony. His new four story premises at 310 George St were designed by the architect H. C. Kent and the third floor studios alone could accommodate 70 people wanting their portraits taken.

In 1913 Kerry retired leaving the running of the studio to his nephew, unfortunately the business did not do well and Kerry and Co. closed its doors in 1917. Kerry himself died in 1928.

Geoff Barker, Curatorial, January, 2009

References
Newton, Gael, Shades of Light; Photography and Australia 1839 - 1988, Australian National Gallery, Canberra, 1988
David, Millar, Charles Kerry's Federation Australia, Sydney, David Ell Press, 1981
Tyrell, James, Australian Aboriginal and South Sea Islands Implements, Weapons and Curios, James Tyrrell, Sydney, 1929
Kerry, Charles H c. 1884-1917

History

This photographic negative is one of 2900 Kerry & Co. photographs in the Powerhouse Museum's 'Tyrrell Collection' once owned by Sydney bookseller, James Tyrrell. Almost all of these negatives are 21.5 x 20.3 cm (10 x 8 inch) glass plates and many of those now held by the Powerhouse Museum collection would have been used to create postcards. In addition to the Kerry & Co. Studio images, the Tyrrell Collection at the Powerhouse Museum includes glass plate negatives published by Henry King and a number of other negatives by unattributed photographers

James Tyrrell used the images by Kerry & Co. and Henry King to produce his own booklets and views of New South Wales but although full of iconic Australian images, the collection does not appear to have been fully utilised by Tyrrell.

In 1980 the collection was purchased by Australian Consolidated Press who published a limited series of 2000 contact prints from the collection. Housed in boxes copies of these were given to the State Library of New South Wales and the Macleay Museum at the University of Sydney.

In 1985 Australian Consolidated Press donated the collection to the Powerhouse keeping a set of copy prints for themselves. The collection at this time consisted of 7,903 glass plate negatives and 7,916 contact positive prints.

A further 2,500 Kerry & Co. negatives are held in the Macleay Museum at the University of Sydney, although these do not appear to have been acquired from Charles Kerry and Co. by Tyrrell.

Geoff Barker, Curatorial, January, 2009

References
Newton, Gael, Shades of Light; Photography and Australia 1839 - 1988, Australian National Gallery, Canberra, 1988
David, Millar, Charles Kerry's Federation Australia, Sydney, David Ell Press, 1981
Tyrrell, James, Australian Aboriginal and South Sea Islands Implements, Weapons and Curios, James Tyrrell, Sydney, 1929
Australian Consolidated Press

Cite this Object

Glass plate negative, full plate, 'Union Club, Sydney', Kerry and Co, Sydney, Australia, c. 1884-1917 2014, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 24 March 2017, <https://ma.as/29788>
{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/29788 |title=Glass plate negative, full plate, 'Union Club, Sydney', Kerry and Co, Sydney, Australia, c. 1884-1917 |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=24 March 2017 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}
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