State Library of South AustraliaState Library of South Australia

Portrait of Charles Henry West

Catalogue record

Place of Creation: Adelaide

Date of creation : 1894

Reproduction rights are owned by State Library of South Australia. This image may be printed or saved for personal research or study. Use for any other purpose requires permission from the State Library of South Australia. To request approval, complete the Permission to publish form.

Format : Photograph, 560 mm x 686 mm x 41 mm (framed)

Charles Henry West, born 1855, was a customs officer at Port Adelaide, 1889-1892, and a lighthouse keeper at Cape Jaffa, Troubridge, and South Neptune Island, 1893-1919. He married Emma Isabella Germein, daughter of Samuel Germein. The State Library holds papers of Charles Henry West, comprising diary 1889-1918 routinely recording lighthouse duties, lighthouse keeping instruction books, notebooks for customs procedures, lighthouse photographs and family photographs.

This work has been created with a technique known as opaltype, and is essentially a portrait developed from a photograph then cast on to glass. The image itself appears to have been black and white, then hand coloured. The artist has paid close attention to the detail of the costume including gold buttons on the suit and white pigment added to the eyes and other reflective areas. In this piece, the subject has been illustrated with clear blue eyes and dark blonde hair.

An original label attached to reverse of the work advertises the place of the creation of the opal type "DIMOND BROS.; PHOTO ENLARGERS; PICTURE FRAMERS; Mount Cutters and Plush Workers,; 146 RUNDLE STREET, ADELAIDE.; BRANCHES:; 77 Bridge Road, Melbourne; Spring; Hill Brisbane and Perth W.A.", (bot l) "DJ Glen??; 23/11/94"


Further reading

Davies, Alan. The mechanical eye in Australia : photography 1841-1900, Melbourne : Oxford University Press, 1985

Robinson, Julie. A century in focus : South Australian photography, 1840s-1940s, Adelaide : Art Gallery of South Australia, 2007

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