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HomeContents > People > Photographers > J.W. Newland

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Born: John William Newland 
Active:  Australia / New Zealand / India
Had a studio in Calcutta, India. Active between 1850 and 1857.

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John Falconer, British Library 
A Biographical Dictionary of 19th Century Photographers in South and South-East Asia

Commercial, Australia and India
A British subject, ‘formerly of the parish of Redgrove in the County of Suffolk.’[1]
Died: 10-12 May 1857.[2]
Newland was among the earliest professional daguerreotypists in Australia, where he opened a studio on the corner of King and George Street in Sydney in March 1848, advertising that he only intended to stay a short while. His first advertisement appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald of 7 March 1848, in which he offered ‘a perfect likeness, coloured or in shade’, and boasted that ‘from the use of the best instruments and long practice, Mr N. is enabled to insure a picture in an incredibly short space of time...Miniatures £1 1s to £5. Taken in any weather.’ His expertise was confirmed by a report a week later which commended ‘that perfection in the art which the Messrs. Newland now present to us. The Australian public should pay a visit to this gallery’.[3]
In April 1848 Newland organized a magic lantern show at the Royal Victoria Theatre, where he exhibited his ‘beautiful collection of dissolving views...powerful oxy-hydrogen microscope, and dazzling chromatropes, by the aide of the celebrated Drummond Light. The apparatus is of the most splendid and costly description being on a scale of magnificence never before introduced into the colonies - calculated to blend instruction with amusement - to gratify the learned and unlearned - refresh the memory of the scholar - and afford the general auditor a magnificent display. 10,000 square feet of illuminated scenery.’[4] Newland had in addition brought with him several hundred daguerreotype portraits and views, taken in Europe, South America and the Pacific and these he also exhibited to attract custom (as he was to do later in Calcutta): ‘A public inivitation is here given, and embracing in the collection of specimens, the principal inhabitants of two thirds of the Globe. Mr J.W.N. feels convinced that parents and schoolmasters will not regret a visit for their juvenile families and scholars’.[5] Newland closed the Sydney gallery at the end of June 1848 and left for Hobart, Tasmania on 21 September 1848. A month after his arrival, Newland opened a daguerreotype studio in Murray Street. Scoffing at the ‘futile attempts of several parties to impose upon the public by professing an art they do not understand’, he offered to guarantee ‘the most perfect likeness either in shade or colour.’ Visitors were invited to see the examples of his work (‘upwards of two hundred in the Daguerrean Gallery’), amongst which were ‘the only correct likenesses ever taken of Pomare, Queen of Otaheite, the King, the Royal Family, Chiefs, and several other Natives. Beautiful specimens of the New Zealanders, Feejeans, Peruvians, Chilenos, Grenadians, etc. Panoramic view of the City of Arequipa, Peru, etc.’[6] The Tasmanian studio was closed in December 1848, prior to his departure in January 1849, with the following announcement: ‘Mr Newlands. It will be seen that this scientific artist from engagements elsewhere positively closes the Daguerrean Gallery at the termination of the week. The unrivalled execution and accuracy of his portraiture displayed in the Daguerrean likeness, can scarcely be imagined, except by inspection. Many will regret their indifference should they not take advantage of the few remaining days the gallery will be open, as such an opportunity is not likely soon to occur again. This is the true art, “that gives the eye of distant weeping, faith to view the form of its idolatry”.’. [7]
In around 1850, Newland moved to India, where he ran a successful daguerreotype and photographic business in Loudon’s Buildings, Calcutta, which survived until about 1860. Newland himself was an early and incidental victim of the Indian Mutiny, although his studio continued to function, under the management of his half-brother Frederick Welling:
‘Among the first news of the mutinies which we received, it was mentioned that two Europeans were travelling between Meerut and Delhi, and that one of them has been killed. We now learn that the victim was Mr Newland, the photographic artist of Calcutta. He was taken from the dak carriages and mutilated with great barbarity.’[8]
He is listed as having been killed on 10 May 1857 at Meerut.[9]
1852-55 Daguerrian Gallery, 6 Loudon’s Buildings, Calcutta. F.W. Baker working as assistant to Newland in 1855.
1856-57 Daguerreotypist and photographer, 6 Loudon’s Buildings, Calcutta.
1857 Frederick Welling, Assistant.
1858 Frederick Welling, Manager.
1859 Frederick Welling, Partner.
1860 Business advertised as ‘Newland’s Gallery (J.[sic] Welling)’
1861 Not advertised.
‘Daguerrean Gallery, No. 6 Loudon’s Buildings. Prices of Portraits Co’s [Company] Rs. 12 and upwards. Mr Newland invites inspection of his extensive collection, among which are Queen Pomare, Tahitian Chiefs, and other interesting portraits.’[10]
NEWLAND’S DAGUERREAN AND PHOTOGRAPHIC GALLERY J. Newland begs to call the attention of the ladies and gentlemen of Calcutta to his new and various styles of photography, and also to his much admired Stereoscopic Views of Calcutta and its vicinity, Views of Family Residence, etc. taken to order. Positive portraits on glass and paper, Daguerreotype Miniatures taken daily, also Miniatures taken for Professor Wheatsone’s beautiful instrument the Stereoscope. Amateurs and the trade supplied with plates, cases, chemicals, paper, etc. No. 6, Loudon Buildings, Calcutta. Rooms open from 10 A.M. until 4 P.M.[11]
‘To professionals and amateurs. Mr J.W. Newland begs respectfully to solicit public attention to his unprecedentedly large supplies of chemicals and requisites for both the Daguerrian and photographic arts. Inspection is respectfully solicited, as details of stock cannot be comprised in the limits of an advertisement, a liberal discount allowed, but all transactions are for bona fide cash payments. 6 Loudon’s Buildings, Newland’s Daguerrian Gallery.’[12]
Newland’s will reveals that in addition to his estate in India, he also held assets in Texas, covered under a separate will in the United States. Three-sevenths of his estate was left to his mother Eliza Welling, the remainder divided among his half-brothers George (of Hobart), William (of New York), Frederick (of Brighton, but by the time of his death working with him in Calcutta), and his half-sisters Elizabeth Charlotte and Emma (of Brighton).[13] 

  1. Λ Bengal Wills, IOR/L/AG/34/29/96 ff. 203-6. 
  2. Λ The list of mutiny casualties states that Newland died on 10 May 1857; his will, however (see following note for reference), gives a less precise date of ‘about the twelfth day of May.’ 
  3. Λ Sydney Morning Herald, 14 March 1848. 
  4. Λ Sydney Morning Herald, 29 April 1848. 
  5. Λ Sydney Morning Herald, 23 May 1848. 
  6. Λ Hobart Town Courier, 25 October 1848. 
  7. Λ Britannia and Trades Advocate, 21 December 1848.Information on Newland’s Australian period is from Alan Davies and Peter Stanbury, The Mechanical Eye in Australia (OUP, Melbourne, 1985). 
  8. Λ The Bengal Hurkaru and India Gazette, 26 May 1857. 
  9. Λ IOR/F/4/2729 (198459): List of Casualties. 
  10. Λ The Englishman of 29 March 1851. 
  11. Λ The Englishman of 3 July 1857. 
  12. Λ The Friend of India, 9 April 1857. 
  13. Λ Bengal Wills, IOR/L/AG/34/29/96 ff. 203-6. 

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