Tyrrell Photographic Collection
The Tyrrell Collection consists of 7903 glass plate negatives from the studios of Charles Kerry (1857-1928) and Henry King (1855-1923) who had two of Sydney's principal photographic studios in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
The Tyrrell Collection - an important record of city and country life - was bought by James R. Tyrrell in 1929 and sold in 1980 to Australian Consolidated Press who donated it to the Powerhouse Museum in 1985. All the photographs in the collection were intended for sale: first as prints, and later as postcards when the craze for collecting them began. Both Kerry and King also exhibited at international and intercolonial exhibitions. Charles Kerry began his career as a photographer in about 1875, working for the Sydney portrait photographer, A.H. Lamartiniere. By 1884, Kerry had taken over the business and had his studio at 308 George Street, Sydney. In 1890 he was appointed official photographer to the Governor of New South Wales, Lord Carrington. In addition to his portrait work, Kerry took on a number of government commissions, including travelling through New South Wales to photograph Aboriginal peoples, their camps and corroborees and taking detailed interior views of Jenolan Caves. Kerry's work was greatly facilitated by the invention of the dry-plate process in Europe in 1878. Where once photographs had to be developed on the spot, now they could be taken and developed later in the studio. Kerry's photographs of New South Wales were exhibited at the 1893 Chicago International Exhibition. In 1913, Kerry retired to take up mining. Although his nephew took over the business, increased competition and changing tastes meant that Kerry & Co closed in 1917. Henry King was apprenticed to J. Hubert Newman before opening his own studio in partnership with William Slade in 1879. Although much of his early work was studio portraiture, the development of the dry-plate process allowed him to undertake landscape photography. He travelled throughout New South Wales and Queensland in his horse drawn caravan/studio, and was particularly interested in landscape photography. He won a bronze medal for his photographs at the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. In contrast to Kerry, King's images were more carefully planned and positioned.
Parts of this collection are digitised and available on the Powerhouse Museum website.
Charles Kerry; Henry King; James Tyrrell
Glass plate negatives; Photographs
Queensland, Australia; Norfolk Island, Australia; South Pacific; New South Wales, Australia