An albumen paper carte de visite photograph of a shearer caught in the act
The portrait (image size 94 x 61 mm) is mounted as issued on the printed card of 'Samuel Nixon, Photographer, South Australia'. The photograph and the mount have been folded across the centre, and the mount shows signs of handling, but overall it is a very presentable item. The Art Gallery of South Australia has a variant image (20041RJN2228) of this shearer and his sheep, clearly taken on the same occasion. It is described as a late 1860s studio portrait by Nixon, but the makeshift floor covering and backdrop, to say nothing of the live prop, suggest an al fresco setting, in keeping with Nixon's address on the card ('South Australia'), and the description of him as a travelling photographer by both Davies and Stanbury (1985) and Barrie (2002). Other anomalies have been noted in these sources: Samuel Nixon (1847-1922, according to the AGSA, which probably gleaned this information from the Biographical Index of South Australians, 1836-1885), may have been active in the field in the late 1860s (when he was around 20), but surely not in 1862 (when he was 15), as Barrie records. The image probably dates from the 1870s.