A group of early plate photographs from the Helen Kegie Collection, A report by Peter and Carys Brown (PDF, 1.4MB)
In the Helen Kegie Collection are eight ambrotype photographs (on glass plates) dating from the late 1850s or early 1860s. These were given to Helen in 1992 by Phyllis Wyndham Thomas, the daughter of Edmund Ballard (1864-24), a professional photographer in Chepstow in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Ballard was related to Helen through his wife Ada Phoebe Sargent, who was a sister to Helen’s grandmother, Mary Ellen Sargent.
Helen’s assumption was that these early photographs were taken by Ballard, but research suggests that that his family (originally from London) had no connection with photography at such an early date. As the Conclusions reveal, these interesting photographs appear to be of a family group in Australia that is quite separate from the family in question. How they came into the ownership of Edmund Ballard is still a mystery.