Collection Online
Hilaire Syme
gelatin silver photograph, watercolour
(185.5 × 74.4 cm) (image)
Place/s of Execution
Melbourne, Victoria
inscribed in brown paint (in image) l.r.: Broothorn
Accession Number
Australian Photography
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Gift of Dr Veronica Condon, Geoffrey Haggard and Jennifer Smyth, descendants of Sir Geoffrey Syme K.B.E., Managing Editor of the Age newspaper (1908–42), 2004
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of Professor AGL Shaw AO Bequest
Gallery location
Not on display


FRAME: Original, by D. Bernard & Co., Melbourne

This simple wooden frame is representative of frames used to present photographs in the last decades of the nineteenth century and the first decades of the twentieth century.2 Variations on this simple profile can be found, while the timber of choice was oak and the surface treatment minimal. Frames like this are also to be found on watercolours and prints. In this example the frame is elongated vertically to accommodate a disarmingly large, life-size photograph of a young girl, a gelatin silver print, hand-coloured with watercolour. The photograph is mounted on a stretcher, sitting the frame from the wall. The frame is not sufficiently robust to carry the glass and the rigidity of the system is provided by the stretcher of the photograph, rather than the frame.


1 D. Bernard and Co began business at 343 Bourke Street in 1895, moving to 323–5 in 1901. They were at 323 Bourke Street through to 1920 (Hilary Maddocks, ‘Picture Framemakers in Melbourne c. 1860–1930’ in vol. 1, Frames, Melbourne Journal of Technical Studies in Art, University of Melbourne Conservation Service, 1999, pp. 13–24).

2 An identical frame is to be found on another photograph attributed to Mills: Hilaire Syme dressed for the Kismit Ball (2005.56).

D. Bernard & Co
323-5 Bourke Street, Melbourne 1

The frame is assembled from a single moulding of oak timber, mitred and nailed at the corners. The surface appears to have been given a dark stain.


Good original condition throughout. The work is glazed.

203.5 x 93.0 x 3.8 cm; sight 185.5 x 74.4 cm