Item I-51988 - "Gems of BC"; photo composite of infants and young children; Box 14, File 466.

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"Gems of BC"; photo composite of infants and young children; Box 14, File 466.

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  • graphic material

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I-51988

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  • 1890 (Creation)
    Creator
    Maynard, Hannah (Hatherly)

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Name of creator

(1834-1918)

Biographical history

Hannah Hatherly Maynard (1834-1918) was a well-known photographer, photographic artist and business owner originally from Cornwall, England and based in Victoria, British Columbia. She ran a successful commercial studio photography business, Mrs. R. Maynard’s Photographic Gallery (1862? – 1912) in Victoria on Vancouver Island that was in operation for 50 years.

Hannah married Richard Maynard in 1852 in England and they immigrated to Bowmanville, Ontario. While in Ontario she studied photography, likely with R & H O’Hara of Bowmanville, Photographers, Booksellers, Insurance Agents, Etc. In 1862, Hannah, Richard and their family moved to the Colony of Vancouver Island on the Sierra Nevada. It is believed she opened Mrs. R. Maynard’s Photographic Gallery that same year.

As a photographer she was primarily known for her portrait photography. Throughout her career she created a documentary record of the changing landscape of Victoria and its population as it grew from a small fort settlement to an urban centre. As a portrait photographer, she created likenesses of early inhabitants among them gold miners and sailors. When the studio opened, Fort Victoria had been established by the Hudson’s Bay Company twenty year’s prior, and the Colony of Vancouver Island was barely over a decade years old. In addition, the medium of photography was in its early infancy and only several years since gold was found on the Fraser River on the mainland. During the early 1860s and 1870s, Mrs. R. Maynard’s Photographic Gallery was one of the most prolific creators of carte de visites of First Nations subjects which were popular in and around Victoria during that time, which disseminated a certain depiction of First Nations and Indigenous people to public consumers. Later on in 1897, Mrs. Maynard employed her skills in portraiture in her role as the official photographer for city police forces in Victoria for several years. Upon her retirement, Hannah is quoted in the Victoria Daily Colonist as saying “I think I can say with every confidence that we photographed everyone in the town at one time or another.”

In addition to her portrait photography, Mrs. Maynard’s portfolio of work likely also included other styles of photography. During the 1870s and 1880s, Hannah and Richard took several working trips together where they both practiced landscape photography. This included trips to Vancouver Island, Haida Gwaii (then referred to as the Queen Charlotte Islands) and to Banff, Alberta. In the early 1900s, Hannah Maynard supplied ethnographic documentary photographs of Indigenous people of B.C.'s Northwest Coast to the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard in the United States.

Mrs. R. Maynard was an artist, as well as a photographer. She was known for producing experimental works that involved photographic techniques such as double and multiple exposures, photo-sculptures, as well as composite and cut-and-paste montage imagery. The "Gems of British Columbia" series features portrait montages of selected children, largely Anglo-European subjects as well as a number of clients from Black and Chinese pioneer families, photographed throughout the year. These were sent as New Year's greeting cards to clients from 1881 until about 1895. In the 1880s, these composite photographs, which sometimes incorporated photo sculptures (also known as “Living Sculptures”) were published annually in the trade publication St. Louis Photographer (also known as St. Louis and Canadian Photographer). She also used landscape views as well as studio portraits as source material for composite works, such as the piece “80 Views on the Frazer River” featuring multiple landscape views identified as the Fraser River, or the blended “documentary” image of a field photograph depicting a view of community village scene and a studio portrait of an Indigenous women. She is also more commonly known for unique autobiographical works, tableaux vivants which employ double and multiple exposure techniques along with the techniques of photo-sculpture, and feature Hannah and other members of the Maynard family.

Over the course of her career, Mrs. R. Maynard received many acknowledgements and praise in Canada and the United States. Early in her career, the Seattle Weekly Pacific Tribune described her as a "leading photographer of Victoria” in 1878. In 1888, The New West of Winnipeg noted: “…her photographic work cannot be excelled for brilliancy of expression and harmony of effect…she is recognized as one of the foremost representatives of the profession in the country.”

During the course of her career, the personal history of Hannah Maynard and her family are closely linked, to both her photographic work and that of her studio. Her children and family are featured in many of her studio portraits, as well as in experimental works. Photographic work created by Hannah and her husband Richard have been attributed to each other in several ways and means. In 1890, Richard Maynard won first prize in the professional class for the Victoria landscape view, "The Arm" by West Shore magazine in October of 1890. This image was later also credited to Hannah Maynard in the publication the St. Louis & Canadian Photographer in November that same year.

Around 1910, Hannah Maynard appears to have disposed of her camera equipment to a photographer identified as “a Chinese photographer named Peter on Government Street”. On September 29, 1912, the Victoria Daily Colonist announced Hannah Maynard’s retirement at the age of 78 and the closure of the studio. The Mrs. R. Maynard’s Photographic Gallery appears to have never reopened. She died at age 84 in 1918 and is buried in Ross Bay Cemetery, Victoria, British Columbia. Her son Albert H. Maynard executed her will.

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Availability of other formats

Modern copy prints are available for works in the “Gems of British Columbia" composite series, as well as original studio portraits of children and babies featured in the final montage image(s). Available here are reproductions from original glass plate negatives, masked or edited versions of a print, and legacy copy prints. Other formats are available for the following “Gems of British Columbia”: 1881 (HP#018428); 1882 (HP#093165, HP#093679), 1883 (HP#093185, HP#093160), 1885 (HP#093230), 1887 (HP#054839) and 1889 (HP#093170), 1890 (HP#094123), 1891 (HP#093169), 1893 (HP#093182, HP#093683), and 1895 (HP#093678 and HP#093684). Some of these reproductions include annotations. Please contact the BC Archives to determine the access status of these reference materials.

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Item is in the public domain.

Finding aids

Associated materials

Associated Materials
Published articles from trade publications including the St. Louis and Canadian Photographer relating to other works in Hannah Maynard’s “Gems of British Columbia" series in 1885 and 1886, are available. St. Louis and Canadian Photographer is held by the University of Victoria Libraries, University of British Columbia Library, and Simon Fraser University Library. Other titles such as The Practical Photographer also contain press and publicity for the “Gems" series in May 1894. The Practical Photographer is held by Library and Archives Canada .

Related Materials
For materials relating to alternative print versions of “Gems of British Columbia" series, see the BC Archives Photograph Collection.

PR-1259 Maynard family collection holds the “Gem” for 1885 (see MS-2951).

A number of original prints for other works in the “Gems of British Columbia" composite series are held in additional private record collections. See the Agnes Deans Cameron fonds for the "Gem" for 1894 (HP#093677. Described as PR-1365. See also the Todd, Gillespie family fonds for the “Gem” for 1883 (HP#054838), and for 1887 (HP#054839). Described as PR-2005.

For the “Gem” for 1880 (HP#93180), and another undated work in the annual series, see PR-0356 Newcombe Family fonds (MS-2964 Photographs and sketches).

For “Gems of British Columbia" works where miniature portraits of multiple baby and child portraits are superimposed onto objects such as plants (HP#92015), see PR-1259 Maynard family collection (MS-2951). For shells (HP#93366), see the BC Archives Photograph Collection.

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General note

Archives code(s): 197812-016.

General note

Accession number(s): 197812-016

General note

Mrs. R. Maynard was an artist, as well as a photographer. She was known for producing experimental works that involved photographic techniques such as double and multiple exposures, photo-sculptures, as well as composite and cut-and-paste montage imagery. The "Gems of British Columbia" series features portrait montages of selected children, largely Anglo-European subjects as well as a number of sitters from early Chinese and Black pioneering families, photographed throughout the year. These were sent as New Year's greeting cards to clients from 1881 until about 1895. In the 1880s, these composite photographs, which sometimes incorporated photo sculptures (also known as “Living Sculptures”) were published annually in the trade publication St. Louis Photographer (also known as St. Louis and Canadian Photographer).

Accompanying material

Additional documentation regarding documentation on Hannah Maynard’s photographic works including the "Gems of British Columbia" series can be found in the Maynard family research files. Resources to provide information on the photographs are available. This material was created by current and past staff and researchers of BC Archives and includes biographical, contextual, and photographic research information. Please contact the BC Archives to determine the access status of these records.

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