Series consists of 41 photographs of experimental works of photographer Hannah Maynard (1834-1918) of Mrs. R. Maynard’s Photographic Gallery produced by Mrs. R. Maynard between 1880 and 1899. Photographs are attributed to Hannah with a small number of works featuring photographs attributed to Richard or Hannah Maynard. Amongst the earliest photographic works are those “Gems of British Columbia” photocollages produced in the early 1880s. The photographs appear to be produced for the purposes of creating commercial photographic products of and for the clientele of children and family studio portraits, the creation of Maynard autobiographical works using advanced technical photographic skill, and to a lesser extent to showcase the photographic portfolio of the Maynard photographers in the 1880s to 1890s. This series presents a portion of the less conventional and more experimental portfolio of photographer and artist Hannah Maynard of Mrs. R. Maynard’s Photographic Gallery during the late 19th century in Victoria, British Columbia within the latter half of Hannah Maynard’s career.
Hannah Maynard was an artist, as well as a photographer. During the 1880s and 1890s, she was known for producing experimental works such as photocollages, composite and montage photographic works in addition to her more conventional portrait photography depicting the "upper echelons of Victoria society." During this period, skills in collodion and gelatin dry processes, in various styles of photography including child and family photography, portraiture and self-portraiture, as well as experimentation and craftmanship in the technical processes of double and multiple exposures and composite photography, cut-and-paste montage, photosculptures (referred to by Hannah Maynard as “living statuaries” or “statuary from life”) and retouching were employed to create these new works in the Maynard portfolio.
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.
During the 1880s and 1890s, composite works of a different nature were also produced during this time which fused landscape views, field photographs as well as studio portraits or land-based studio portraits to create blended “documentary” or fabricated images of First Nations and Indigenous peoples.
The Maynard experimental works received acknowledgements, praise and commentary in Canada and the United States from trade publications such as St. Louis Photographer (also known as St. Louis and Canadian Photographer) and The Practical Photographer. The St. Louis Photographer published a work in the “Gems of British Columbia" series in 1886, and in another instance published a dedication in a poem entitled: “Gems of British Columbia 1881, 1882, 1883, 1884, 1885.” In the May 1894 issue of The Practical Photographer, praise was given for Hannah Maynard's “Gems” telling its readership: “Mrs. Maynard is celebrated for her new year cards, called the "Gems of British Columbia." We hope to reproduce one of these in an early issue, but in the meantime it may be explained that the card consists of a reduced photograph of all the children taken during the past year. One of these cards is sent to each mother whose child is represented therein. They are very clever productions, and bear evidence of much ability and perseverance.” Although knowledge on double and multiple exposure techniques during the 1880s was available to other photographers in publications such as Scientific American and categorized in articles as “amusing” or “illusive” photography, autobiographical works of Hannah Maynard were viewed more as abnormal by these same outlets. In 1894, when Hannah Maynard sent copies of self-portraits or tableau vivants using double and multiple exposure techniques to St. Louis and the Canadian Photographer these works were seen as “on the freak order, showing Mrs. Maynard in different positions on the same plate.”
As commercial products, experimental works were marketed by the Maynards to promote their photographic portfolio and services. From 1881 until about 1895, the "Gems of British Columbia" works which featured selected children, largely Anglo-European subjects as well as a number of clients from African American and Chinese pioneer families photographed throughout the year were used to market photographic services to existing and potentially future clientele of children and family photography. Some “Gems of British Columbia” works were marketed by Mrs. R. Maynard using the Maynard Studio's second and third studios as evidenced by imprints reflecting addresses “Cor. Douglas & Johnson Sts” and “41 ½ Pandora Avenue Near Douglas Street” on the backs of card mounted prints. In some cases, some multi-image montages featuring landscape views (views sometimes attributed Richard Maynard), were marketed by Richard and Hannah Maynard separately using the Maynard Studio's first and second studios as evidenced by imprints reflecting addresses “Douglass Street” and “Cor. Douglas & Johnson Streets” displayed on card mounts.
Later on experimental works were reproduced and published by other Victoria businesses for their own advertising purposes. Montages featuring works attributed to Richard Maynard were also included in illustrated publications for the city. In one example, a Victoria Illustrated of 1891 featured a number of multi-image photographic montages on various themes of local Victoria and vicinity interests such as Beacon Hill Park, Esquimalt Harbour, the Gorge and “Victoria Arm,” as well as local European organizations, business districts, institutions (Covent School of St. Anne’s, The Victoria Theatre, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Royal Jubilee Hospital, the Provincial Museum). These were used to aid the promotion of the City of Victoria in the Province of British Columbia “–its resources, terminal advantages, general industries and climate of Victoria, the ‘Queen City’ and its tributary country.” This version was published by “Ellis & Co., ‘The Colonist’” in 1891.
By the 1890s, the Maynard family had experienced the loss of members of their immediate and extended family. Hannah's daughter Laura Lillian Maynard had died in the early 1880s, daughter Emma Macdonald nee Maynard and daughter-in-law Adelaide Maynard died in the 1890s.
This series consists of 20 collodion and gelatin dry glass plate negatives in 5x8, 6.5x8.5, 8x10 and 10x12 inch sized plates. The bulk of the images are photographs of photographic works. The works represent examples of Hannah Maynard of Mrs. R. Maynard’s Photographic Gallery infant, child and baby studio portraiture and portraiture clientele, compositions of field photographs and landscape views of British Columbia and North America attributed to the Maynards and taken on various photographic work trips, as well as studio-based autobiographical works featuring the Maynard family and Hannah Maynard in tableau vivants and self-portraits using double and multiple exposures, photo-sculpture as well as other photographic techniques. There does not appear to be associated photograph numbers for the original negatives identified on plates or in the visual information in the photograph. There are captions and dates within some of the “Gems of British Columbia” works. The photographer’s name can be found stamped or printed within the individual photographs featured in one of the montage works featured here (J-04573).
There are eight “Gems of British Columbia” photocollages represented in MS-3380. They are attributed to be the “Gems” for the years 1880, 1885, 1890, 1891, 1893, 1894, 1895, 1896. There are three works that have several alternate versions. These alternate versions differ by photographic process (collodion vs. gelatin dry plate negative), nature of annotations or embellishment to the work, or the angle of the camera when documenting the collage. In some cases, a studio background is visible, as are instruments holding the framed work up to be photographed. “Gems” contain similar design elements including cropped versions of studio portraits of infants, babies and children in various sizes. Within the portraits of children, props and studio settings are sometimes included in the design and composition and are visible. Some contain complete or partial “Gems” from previous years. Some contain cropped figures from photo-sculptures within the composition of the work. Other examples of Maynard’s portfolio of work are included in some of the “Gems” and are not limited to studio portraiture (e.g. outdoor photographs of Maynard family members cycling). Portraits and photographs of people in these works represent a selection of Hannah Maynard of Mrs. R. Maynard’s Photographic Gallery’s infant, child and baby studio portraiture clientele, the bulk of which represent largely Anglo-European individuals and families, as well as individuals and families from African American and Chinese pioneer families to a lesser extent. For an example of the representation of children from African American pioneer families in Hannah Maynard's “Gems of British Columbia” series, see the “Gem” attributed to 1896 featured in this series. Members of the Maynard family are also represented. In some cases, Hannah Maynard appears as a tiny cut-out on the outskirts of a photocollage work.
Also in this series, works representing Maynard autobiographical works consist of five tableau vivants (8x10 inch plates) and two self-portraits of Hannah Maynard (5x8 inch plates) as gelatin dry or collodion glass plate negatives. These composite works are composed of several photographed merged together to form a single work. Tableau vivants feature Hannah and other Maynard family members (living and deceased) and depict various domestic scenes within a Victorian parlor setting. Hannah's daughter Laura Lillian Maynard, Emma Macdonald nee Maynard, daughter-in-law Adelaide Maynard and grandson Maynard Macdonald are featured in several of the works, represented as photosculptures and studio props (of studio portraits and other commercial photographic products used to adorn of domestic interiors such as cushions) within tableaux compositions (J-04565, J-04567, J-04568). Studio elements such as studio flooring (rose pattern), curtains, lighting, props and/or artificial backdrop attributed to Mrs. R. Maynard's Photographic Gallery are visible. Many of the tableau vivants and self-portraits do contain evidence of manipulation on the surface of the negatives. There are touch ups within the areas of the facial features, dominantly on Hannah Maynard, which results in the visual reduction of wrinkles on her face.
Finally, there are two different multi-image montages included in MS-3380 and are attributed to Hannah Maynard. These works, both gelatin dry glass plate negatives (8x10 inch plates), are part of a number of montages created in the 1880s and 1890s. Both works depict how they have been physically composed (puttied together or nailed in close proximity) to form a single work and photographed. Field photography and landscape works included in the compositions relate to photographs taken by the Maynards produced during different photographic trips taken throughout their photographic careers. Views likely represent scenes in British Columbia in the 1860s and 1880s, in Alberta in the 1880s, in Alaska or the Pribilof Islands taken between 1870s and 1890s, along with other views that encompass First Nation and Indigenous traditional territories and colonial settlements. Landscape views contain information about geographical features and natural resources such as mountains ranges and passes, rivers, creeks and lakes, seal habitats (Alaska/ Pribilof Islands), specific geographical formations such as “Lady Franklin Rock, Fraser River,” and along with parks that appear to be recorded such as National Park (Banff). Photographs also include views of wagon roads, steamers and views of the Fraser River and interior B.C. region likely produced by the Maynards or other photographers (Frederick Dally or Louis A. Blanc) documenting Barkerville, the Cariboo and the Cariboo Roads in British Columbia during the period before and after the Fraser River gold rush of the 1860s. Photographs also include views of railroad stations, bridge and trestle construction, pathways and routes, in addition to views of colonial settlements such as Kamloops, likely produced during the Maynards documentation of the Canadian Pacific Railway construction in British Columbia and Alberta in the 1880s. There are also photographs with field photographs that document the presence of Indigenous lifeways including fishing activities, with views of fishing stations, on the Fraser River (J-04572). In one of the montage works featured in this series (J-04573), many of the individual photographs contained in the photograph are identified as works by Mrs. R. Maynard in this instance.