At the beginning of the 1890s, the Kew businessman and Town Councillor, Henry Kellett, commissioned J.F.C. Farquhar to photograph scenes of Kew. These scenes included panoramas as well as pastoral scenes. The resulting set of twelve photographs was assembled in an album, Kew Where We Live, from which customers could select images for purchase.The preamble to the album describes that the photographs used the ‘argentic bromide’ process, now more commonly known as the gelatine silver process. This form of dry plate photography allowed for the negatives to be kept for weeks before processing, hence its value in landscape photography. The resulting images were considered to be finely grained and everlasting. Evidence of the success of Henry Kellett’s venture can be seen today, in that some of the photographs are held in national collections.
It is believed that the Kew Historical Society’s copy of the Kellett album is unique and that the photographs in the book were the first copies taken from the original plates. It is the first and most important series of images produced about Kew. The individual images have proved essential in identifying buildings and places of heritage value in the district.
In this view of Studley Park Road, looking northeast to the Junction, the photographer invites the viewer to participate in a point-of-view that emphasises the elevated, tranquil vantage point of the hill in contrast to the bustling commercial area in the distance. The view emphasises the exclusiveness of Studley Park, with its high fences behind which a number of significant Kew mansions were concealed. Contemporary advertisements for the sale of mansions in Studley Park Road often included fulsome descriptions of their elaborate formal gardens, as well as paddocks for grazing, stabling and dairies. None can be seen here. The use of high, protective wooden pickets to surround the newly planted avenue of elms on the south side of the road appears to be typical of the period. Similar examples can be seen in early photographs of Wellington and Princess Streets.The horse and carriage, selected as a central focus of the view, reinforces the residential, exclusive nature of this part of Kew in the early 1890s.
Inscriptions & markings
Studley Park Road