23 November 2015 Portraits of War

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23 November 2015 Portraits of War

​ An extraordinary and haunting series of 80 portraits of World War One soldiers from NSW, selected from the State Library’s photographic collection, will go on show in a free display at the Harry Bailey Memorial Library from December 7.

 

Portraits of War: The Crown Studios Project is a travelling display of photographs from 1918 of soldiers from across NSW who were invited to have their portraits taken in Sydney by the leading photographic studio of the time, Crown Street Studios, before embarking overseas.

 

Crown Studios’ proprietor Mark Blow created a collection of over 1,600 portraits. Unfortunately, the project was never completed. A fire at the Studio in December 1918 hindered the collection process and, while copies of the portraits were protected in a fireproof safe, the Studio did not re-open again until 1 July 1919. The remaining collection was subsequently donated to the Mitchell Library, now part of the State Library.

 

State Library Exhibition curator Louise Tegart said: “The information on the back of each print is just as moving as the portraits themselves with personal details handwritten, including whether soldiers made it home or not.”

 

The State Library has released a collection of the portraits on Flickr Commons – New South Wales Servicemen Portraits 1918-1919 – located here.

 

SPECIAL OFFER FOR COFFS HARBOUR RESIDENTS
If any Coffs Harbour residents discover a family member on the State Library’s New South Wales Servicemen Portraits Flickr set, the State Library will provide a digital file of the portrait free of charge. To secure a digital print simply email media@sl.nsw.gov.au with your name, contact details and a link to the image.

 

The exhibition can be seen at the Harry Bailey Memorial Library on the corner of Coff and Duke Street from December 7-17 during normal opening hours.