A vintage albumen paper photograph (a cabinet card, image size 142 x 102 mm) mounted on the original card, with 'F. Duryea Photo Artist' printed on the bottom margin. 'A Dentist' is handwritten (unnecessarily!) on the verso in ballpoint pen; this impressive image leaves nothing to the imagination
Quite the opposite, in fact: the gentleman standing behind his extensive array of implements and dentures, looks more like a ringmaster, with his hair below the shoulders of his velvet smoking jacket with quilted silk lapels ... Townsend Duryea (1823-1888) was one of the most significant early photographers of South Australia; he was married three times, and had twelve children. 'Several of his sons and grandsons became photographers' (Australian Dictionary of Biography). Four sons - Townsend Jr., Edwin, Richard and Frank - are noted as photographers on the Photohistory SA website, and we presume 'F. Duryea' is Frank Duryea (1861-1936). Interestingly, there is no record of F. or Frank Duryea in the standard register of nineteenth century Australian photographers, 'The Mechanical Eye in Australia' by Davies and Stanbury (1985), although the other three are listed. Only two images attributed to Frank Duryea are recorded on Trove. One is a routine group portrait of 'SA Railways employees' (1920). The other is clearly wrongly credited to him, as it is a carte de visite of Fanny (Frances Ann) Todd, dated 1865, when Frank Duryea was just four years old ... The present photograph (undated but circa 1890s) is in fine condition; the verso of the card has slight surface abrasions to the corners where it has been removed from an album.