Series MS-3374 - Indigenous studio portraits of Mrs. R. Maynard’s Photographic Gallery

Coast Salish woman with berries Cowichan woman Mary, Haida woman Portrait of Haida woman, Mary Portrait of a Haida woman, Mary Portrait of two unidentified Indigenous women Portrait of two unidentified Indigenous men Portrait of an unidentified Indigenous woman Portrait of two Coast Salish people Coast Salish woman Portrait of two Coast Salish people Portrait of a Coast Salish woman Portrait of an unidentified woman Coast Salish woman with crab Portrait of Coast Salish baby swaddled on cradleboard Portrait of Coast Salish woman Two Coast Salish women with bucket and basket Coast Salish baby Tseshaht man Tseshaht men T'Sou-ke [Sooke] woman T'Sou-ke [Sooke] woman WSANEC woman Kwakiutl [Fort Rupert] man Unidentified portrait Cape Flattery man Cape Flattery woman Clay-sa-luke - Comiaken Chief Portrait of an Ohiat man, Barclay Sound Portrait of a Kwakwaka'wakw man, Fort Rupert
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Title and statement of responsibility area

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Indigenous studio portraits of Mrs. R. Maynard’s Photographic Gallery

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  • graphic material

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on the contents of the series.
  • Attributions and conjectures: Photographs in this series are attributed to Hannah Maynard, Frederick Dally, Carlo Gentile, and perhaps others.

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  • [ca.1862-1890; predominant 1862-1872] (Creation)
    Maynard, Hannah (Hatherly)

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Physical description

76 photographs : b&w glass plate negatives

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Name of creator


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 also included other styles of photography. During the 1870s and 1880s, Hannah and Richard took several working trips together where they both practiced photography in the field. 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 African American 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 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.

Custodial history

Found in BC Archives in 2008. Records in this series appears to have been part of a large purchase of Maynard glass plate negatives by the Provincial Government and the Provincial Library and Archives from Albert H. Maynard in the early 1930s.

Scope and content

The series consists of 76 predominantly studio portraits of Indigenous people in what is now known as British Columbia, taken between ca. 1862 to 1890. The majority of the photographs were taken by Hannah Maynard, however some are attributed to Frederick Dally and Carlo Gentile (perhaps others). Photographs were produced and marketed as commercial products popular during the 1860s and 1870s, such as 'cartes de visites', and, to a lesser extent, as personal portraits in the late 1880s. Maynard's studio produced conventional portraits as well as composite photographs which combined portraits with field photography landscapes. Indigenous communities and individual's names have been identified at the item level when known.

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Physical condition

Some glass plate negatives are broken, chipped, and have cracked emulsion that may be missing. Many have areas intentionally removed or obscured to facilitate the creation of composite images or a plain background.

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Conservation restriction: Photographs in this series are predominantly glass plate negatives. Researchers should consult online reference images prior to consulting originals.

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Associated Materials
Many of the photographs in this series are also available in the Indigenous Collections and Repatriation (ICAR) department. When known, their "PN" reference numbers are included at the item level.

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General note

Accession number: 95-7328

General note

A large portion of the portraits in this series represent photographic commodities and tourist products. They should be considered contrived images rather than authentic documents depicting First Nations and Indigenous lives.

Alpha-numeric designations

Photographs within this series come from the following Maynard Collection boxes:

  • -Maynard Coll. Box 7.7; #86: "Indians"
  • -Maynard Coll. Box 7.11; 7.12; #90 "Indians"
  • -Maynard Coll. Box 7.13; 7.14; #91 "Indians"
  • -Maynard Coll. Box 7.15; #92 "Indians"
  • -Maynard Coll. Box 7.19; #95 "Indians - Indian portraits"
  • -Maynard Coll. Misc. glass negs found scattered throughout collection, no provenance; #39

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