Photographers Index

Johnstone, O'Shannessy and Co

Active Dates: circa 1865 - circa 1909
Active Area: Oceania (continent)
Australia (nation)
Victoria (state)
Likenesses: None
Photographs: See list of photographs
Publications: None found.
Related Entries: Duryea, Townsend, 1823-1888, photographer
Henry James Johnstone was born in Birmingham, England, in 1835. He arrived in Melbourne in 1853 (Cato 1955, p.57). He was an active Anglican (Cato 1955, p.34). In 1862 he bought out the Duryea and MacDonald Studio, based at 3 Bourke Street, and started work as Johnstone and Co.. During the 1870s and 80s Johnstone was Melbourne's leading portrait photographer. He was also a prominent artist and exhibited paintings at the Royal Academy in London (Cato 1955, p.57). In 1865 the firm became Johnstone, O'Shannessy and Co.. Johnstone's partner O'Shannessy was an ardent Catholic (Cato 1955, p.35). Johnstone impressed the Duke of Edinburgh and, during his visit to Victoria, Johnstone was appointed to his staff (Cato 1955, p.57). In 1867 Johnstone joined Louis Buvelot's painting school. In 1871 he became a member of the Victorian Academy of Arts (Cato 1955, p.106). Johnstone, O'Shannessy and Co. occupied a variety of buildings on Collins Street, Melbourne, until the 1890s (Davies and Stanbury 1985, p.184). Johnstone returned to London in 1880. He died in 1907 (Cato 1955, p.106).
Sources: Cato, Jack (1955), 'The story of the camera in Australia'. Melbourne : Institute of Australian Photographers.
Davies, Alan and Stanbury, Peter (1985), 'The mechanical eye in Australia: photography 1841-1900'. Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

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