Photograph of Hyde Park, Sydney Australia

Photograph of Hyde Park, Sydney
Photograph of Hyde Park, Sydney

Custodian: University of Glasgow Library Special Collections

Reference: Dougan 103, item 42

Hyde Park in central Sydney opened in 1878 and is Australia's oldest public park. Here it is seen in the foreground and middle distance with paths and trees. Among the substantial buildings in the background is St Mary's Cathedral, in the centre, covered with scaffolding. The cathedral was built between 1868 and 1882. The sky appears to have been masked out in this photograph.

Photographer: not known

Material: albumen print photograph

Dimensions: 259 x 360mm

Condition: It is likely that the was toned. There is no fading.

Collection information: Dougan 103 comprises an album of scenes of Australia, particularly New South Wales, and appears to belong with album Dougan 104. The photographs are believed to date largely from the 1870s and records the rapidly growing and flourishing colonial Australia.

It has been possible to identify some locations and photographers, including work by Charles Nettleton (1826-1902) and Charles Pickering (fl. 1870) largely due to the National Library of Australia's Trove website.

All the prints in Dougan 103 look to be contact printed from wet collodion glass plate negatives. This process was challenging because the plate had to be prepared immediately before use, exposed while still moist and developed directly afterwards. Away from the studio, which would be the case with the majority of the photographs in this album, meant that the photographer had to have a portable darkroom. For photographers in wilder and less accessible landscapes a dark-tent would have to be used presenting a considerable challenge especially when taking into consideration the large size of the glass plates. Some prints indicate that there may have been problems with the collodion and a practice on some prints has been to mask out the sky area making it appear white. This may have been because of blemishes left which can be seen on Dougan 103, item 40. This may have been a practice by a particular photographer.