A fine signed portrait photograph of Australia's eighth Governor-General, The Right Honourable John Lawrence Baird, 1st Baron Stonehaven, GCMG, DSO, PC, JP, DL
The sepia-toned gelatin silver photograph (image size 188 x 137 mm) is mounted on light-brown textured card, set within a slightly larger impressed area, with a single lead pencil line ruled around the edges of the print itself (we suggest to mask trifling amounts of excess glue). The mounted photograph is then tipped in to a plain folder made from a lighter grade of the same light-brown textured stock. The folder is a little worn along its hinge, lightly chipped along the rear leading edge, and a little bumped at the corners; the mount is lightly bumped at the corners; the photograph is in very fine condition, signed clearly in ink 'Stonehaven' in the bottom right-hand corner. Lord Stonehaven was Governor-General from October 1925 to October 1930. He is depicted, standing smartly dressed in Boy Scout uniform, in the garden at (presumably) his official residence, Admiralty House at Kirribilli, with the recently-commenced southern arch of the Sydney Harbour Bridge unmistakenly making an impression in the rear. Arch construction began, from the south, in late October 1928; the limited progress shown in the photograph suggests it was taken in the early months of 1929. The photographer is not credited, but we would be surprised if May Moore was not on the short list of possibilities. New Zealand-born May Moore (1881-1931) emigrated to Australia in 1910 and opened her first studio the following year in Sydney. Working initially together with her sister Mina (who ran her own studio in Melbourne from 1916), her excellent portrait photography attracted a large clientele, especially among artistic circles. May in particular photographed many Sydney celebrities. 'They pioneered sepia tonings, bromide paper and limp mounting-boards.... Illness forced her to retire about 1928, but she continued to paint landscapes' before her death from cancer on 10 June 1931 (Australian Dictionary of Biography). However, even if the photographer's identity remains unknown, this superb image survives on its own merits as a fitting tribute to both parties involved.