An image of Untitled

Unknown photographer

( – )

Croft Brothers

(Australia active Australia 1863–65 – )


Not on display
Further information

The Croft Brothers ran a successful photographic business catering to the middle and upper classes in Sydney. They transferred their business from Dartmouth, UK, to South Head Rd Sydney in 1863, where they often used a panorama of the harbour as a studio backdrop for their portraits. While only in Sydney for two years, the Brothers ran a popular outfit, producing thousands of portraits and cartes de visite. In 1865, the business was offered for sale in the 'Sydney Morning Herald' along with more than 5,000 negatives. The same year, the Crofts returned to the UK, citing health reasons. On the journey, they stopped in New Zealand, establishing a studio in Auckland in 1865.

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
9.0 x 5.9 cm image; 10.0 x 6.3 cm mount card
Signature & date

Not signed. Not dated.

Purchased 2014
Accession number