gelatin silver photograph on paper laid on photography studio backing board (mount: 30.4 x 35.4 cm, image/sheet: 15.0 x 19.2 cm)
Broothorn studios, at 230 Collins Street Melbourne, were opened by the Lord Mayor of Melbourne in September 1909. The studios were designed and decorated by ‘the Kalizoic’ (decorators and art furnishers, importers of Persian Russian and Turkish carpets, tiger, wolf and fox furs, Armenian handiworks, English Continental and American furnishings; proprietor Miss Pearce) and and featured dark violet woodwork and stained glass windows -one, of an English terraced garden with peacocks, by George Dancey. One of the studio’s early portrait subjects was Melba. Specialists in wedding and children’s photography, like other photography studios Broothorn employed many women. In 1938 an explosion and fire at the premises was widely reported; at that time the manageress was Miss Thelma Naunton, and ten junior female employees were treated for minor burns and shock. Not only was there extensive damage to the building and furnishings in the blast, but thousands of negatives and dozens of portraits burned. The business survived, however, and was still advertising at the same address into 1956. Broothorn’s scores of well-known sitters include Stanley Bruce, Dorothy Tangney, John Forrest, John Monash, WM Hughes, Lord Gowrie, Walter Burley Griffin and Sidney Myer.
Gift of Chris Nielsen 2016
Accession number: 2016.68
More about the artist and subject
Permanent collection catalogue
On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.