Jun 18, 2009

Edward Teague Early Lyttelton Photographer


This is a restoration of a recently discovered circa 1878 photograph by Edward Teague (1843-1928). It depicts a family of four in front of their early Lyttelton cottage, probably in the vicinity of upper Selwyn Road, where Teague is recorded to have been living in that time. Below is another photograph of a Lyttelton house by Teague that is dated from the same period.

English by birth, but an Australian from the age of four months, Edward Teague is recorded as a gold miner at Waipori in the Tuapeka district in April 1867. Bankrupt two years later, in 1872 he married and established a photographic studio in the same town. By 1874 he was recorded as a photographer at Balclutha, where he also carried on the business of a Tobacconist and Hairdresser.

At the end of 1878 Teague relocated with his wife and three children to Lyttelton, occupying photographic premises in residential Selwyn Road until 1881, when he moved to Canterbury Street. By 1885 he is recorded as the proprieter of the London Portrait Rooms on London Street, with a further move (possibly residential) to Oxford Street in 1886.

By the following year he was bankrupt again and had moved to Westport. After a short sojourn in that township the family moved on to Greymouth, then returned to Australia in 1888.

By 1897 he was again recorded as a photographer at Greymouth, but had left New Zealand by early in the following year, establishimg himself as a photographer at Zeehan in Western Tasmania. Sill living in that town 1913, he is recorded as being a 72 year-old Miner. He died at Launceston on the 8th of October 1928 in his 85th year.

Also probably dating from the late 1870s is the only other known landscape photograph by Edward Teague. In a westerly view of Lyttelton's inner harbour, it depicts Dampier's Bay, then a popular bathing beach. The bay succumbed to reclamation in 1881 and two years later the extant graving or dry dock was built in the vicinity to the Left of the photograph.

Edward Teague kept no samples of his photography and apart from one photograph taken of his wife and her three sisters, no examples of his work remain with family members. But although business acumen may not have been among his strong points and churning out portrait cards may not have allowed much room for artistic expression, his rare landscapes attest to a genuine talent for composition and the use of light. Accordingly, he well deserves recognition for his contributions to early New Zealand photography.

Edward Teague specialised in producing cartes de visite in his Lyttelton studio. There are three examples known to be held by the National Museum of New Zealand, but they are not available on-line. A further eight of his cartes de visite can be viewed on the Early Canterbury Photographers web site

We're greatfully indebted to Steven McLachlan of the Shades Stamp Shop at 108 Hereford Street, Christchurch for the top photograph, which precipitated this article and also to Heather Bray of Dunedin for the biographical details of her great great Uncle.


Yesterday, some cattle were being driven along Oxford street, Lyttelton, when one of them, being headed, turned into Mr Teague's (photographer) shop. Mr Teague, who was absent at the time, came up promptly, but the bull blocking the way, he could not effect an entrance. Mr Garforth, who happened to be on the spot, managed to get into the gallery, and, at no small risk to himself, seized the animal by the head and backed him out, fortunately before he managed to do any damage.
The Star newspaper 18 October 1883


Jayne said...

Wow, those pics are so crisp and clear, even the restored one!

Canterbury Heritage said...

The restoration was something of a challenge, the original being faded, scratched and stained. But it was well worth the effort as Edward Teague's landscapes indicate a significant degree of expertise.

The collateral descendant is sorting out some more photos and biographical information to be added to the article.

Sarndra said...

Nice job! Isn't that top one particularly fabulous! It's so rural looking and not like Lyttelton at all! Fabulous!

Canterbury Photography said...

What beautiful, idyllic scenes pictured in these two photographs of early Lyttelton homes.

Canterbury Heritage said...

Yes, the rural aesthetic in that part of Lyttelton continues to this day and helped to surmise a location in the upper Selwyn or possibly Hawkhurst Roads vicinty.

Canterbury Heritage said...

Article updated with many thanks to Heather Bray of Dunedin for the biographical details of her great great Uncle.

Marie Barton said...

I have a relative, Edward Teague, who came to Australia around 1844, and he wrote my family a letter from NZ in 1865.
His parents were Catherine and Edward Teague, from Redruth, Cornwall, Eng. Could he be same, or a son of?
Marie Barton

Peter Grant said...

The photo of the other "photograph of a Lyttelton house by Teague that is dated from the same period" is the house known as Captain Simeon's House, on Godley Quay, Lyttelton. I bought an old photo of exactly the same view I think - must check - on TradeMe a few years back. Peter Grant, Hanmer Springs