Gove,Otis and Bennett, Allen

Maitland : 1884

The studios of Gove and Allen set a brisk pace in the conduct of their business, with coverage including Hobart, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane. The Launceston Examiner provided a description of the firm and their work in 1880:

New Firm.-Messrs Allen and Gove have opened a studio in Brisbane-street at for the taking of photographs by the ferrotype system. The process has the advantage of being almost instantaneous in the taking and the photos never fade.  Ten minutes is only occupied before the pictures are supplied finished... The portraits are taken in various till sizes, from gems up to large cabinet or frame size. From specimens which we inspected the portraits are clear and true, and are remarkably cheap. The firm is an American one, and has branches in to Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, and BalIarat. [1]

The availability of Gove and Allen’s studio in Maitland was limited to January and February of 1884, architect Pender initially calling for tenders for a portable photographic gallery in November 1883.  [2]

Gove and Allen’s  speciality was the production of ‘gems’, a miniature portrait, about 1inch (2.5 centimetres) square which were a form of ‘tintype’ photograph. 
Gove and Allen were not the first gem producers.
A short-lived business specialising in gems was the Maitland Ferro Gem Company, appearing and disappearing in 1881.

Having origins in San Francisco, Gove and Allen included the term American Studio in their title. [3]

After creating a photographic gallery in January 1884, it was all over by16 February, with the gallery being auctioned.[4]

'Gem' of a gentleman (left) from State Library
of New South Wales 

While much of their production was in ‘gems’, this carte-de-visite of a young lady (right)has been sourced from the State Library of Victoria.
Other Allen and Gove tintype gems are also available at the State Library of Victoria. [5]

A number of Gove and Allen’s tintypes can also be viewed online at the Art Gallery of New South Wales [6] and the State Library of South Australia. [7]

For a detailed account of tintype gems and more about Gove and Allen, refer to photography historian Marcel Safier’s website, The Gem and Carte De Visite Tintype. [8]

Image : State Library of Victoria

[1] Launceston Examiner 21 June 1880

[2] Maitland Mercury, 27 November 1883

[3] Maitland Mercury, 3 January 1884

[4] Maitland Mercury, 12 February 1884