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Barcroft Capel Boake

(Ireland, Australia 1831 – 1921)


Not on display
Further information

Barcroft Capel Boake was born in Dublin and immigrated to Australia around 1858, spending most of his working life in Sydney. He had a successful photographic business while also working as Captain in the 7th Battery of New South Wales Voluntary Artillery. Boake made portraits and views and is now best known for his monumental mosaic of the returning New South Wales contingent of the Soudan campaign from c1890 (the contingent arrived after the event). He also practiced in a number of different photographic techniques including the heliograph and the instantaneous process. Despite the fierce competition from other photographic studios in Sydney, Boake maintained a reputation for artistic quality and fineness of execution.

A carte de visite is a stiff card of about 10 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.

carte de visite
9.2 x 5.5 cm image; 10.3 x 6.2 cm mount card
Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.

Purchased 2014
Accession number