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National Museum of Australia

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Studio portrait photograph of Thomas Hinton with a case of tools and a collaged diorama.

2012.0015.0005

Studio portrait photograph of Thomas Hinton with a case of tools and a collaged diorama.

Object information

Physical description

A black and white photograph mounted on a piece of cream cardboard with an indented border. Inscription on the lower edge reads 'Collan Nicholas, / 141 Brisbane Street / (Two doors from Charles street) / LAUNCESTON'. The upper left corner of card is missing. The photograph depicts a three quarter length portrait of a man in a hat with a large beard. The man is standing behind a case of tools on a table that is adorned with collaged figures and words. A flag is draped on the back of the case. On the reverse is a photograph of the same man sitting in a cane chair with an 'Advance Australia' banner cradled in his arms, to appear like a stuffed figure.

Statement of significance

This collection contains 15 studio photographs attached to 11 pieces of cardboard, dating from 1900. A remarkable set of images, they utilise the late nineteenth century conventions of photographic studio portraiture to present a unique response to Australia at the dawn of the twentieth century. We cannot know what meaning they were intended to have by Thomas Hinton (b. 1857 ? d. after 1924), who commissioned and featured in the photographs. Hinton worked as an engine driver in the Tasmanian midlands. Shortly after the photographs were taken he was admitted to an insane asylum primarily because of 'a mania for having his photograph taken.'

This collection has strong bearing on a number aspects of Australian cultural history, including the treatment and experience of mental illness; Federation and the choosing of the flag; the Advance Australia coat of arms; the history of photography and of the understanding, collection and appreciation of 'outsider art'.

Object information

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