Item #CL195-1 [Rev. Thomas Henry Druitt And Family]. William Hetzer, active 1850–1867 German.
[Rev. Thomas Henry Druitt And Family]
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[Rev. Thomas Henry Druitt And Family]

1856. Hand-coloured chromatype, signed and dated in pencil lower left, 26 x 36.4cm. Creases to old vertical fold and centre right, slight foxing and stains lower left and centre. Original frame.

This rare chromatype shows Thomas Druitt and his wife, Helena, and five of their eleven children. Provenance: Druitt family by descent. Born in Dorset, England, Thomas Henry Druitt (1817–1891) came to Sydney in 1847 with his wife Helena Hediveges Clementina. He taught at St James Grammar School in 1848 and was acting headmaster at The King’s School, Parramatta during 1854 and 1855. Druitt resigned his appointments at the end of 1856. At this time he and the family moved to Cooma, NSW, where he became a clergyman, and was responsible for the building of St Paul’s Church, as well as a parsonage and a school hall.

William Hetzer was one of the earliest and most significant photographers working in Sydney during the mid-19th century. He “arrived in Sydney from Germany in 1850 and opened a studio the same year at 15 Hunter Street, advertising calotype (salt prints) portraits and views. Hetzer specialised in paper photography, which was a novel process in the colony.” At this time daguerreotypes were more common.

“In colonial photography, the term ‘chromatype’ referred to the process of creating direct positive prints onto paper from glass collodion negatives made by using chromium salts as the sensitive ingredient. It produced a type of thin, matt olive-toned albumen or salted paper print which was usually subtly overpainted in oil or watercolour. Even when the colouring medium is delicately applied, in some cases the overpainting completely obliterates the photographic base and it can be hard to distinguish an image as a chromatype.” The process was invented in 1855 by Tasmanian photographer Frederick Frith. Only a fraction of chromatypes have survived. Ref: SLNSW, Portrait Detective, ADB, The Courier (Hobart), 24.10.1855.

Item #CL195-1

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