Inside the Collection

Ten Favourite Beards from the Collection

Christmas card, Chips and Quentin Rafferty
Christmas card made by Chips and Quentin Rafferty, New South Wales, 1947, MAAS collection, 2007/30/1-29/23

We’ve amassed some beards in our collection! Curator, Rebecca Evans, takes us through her favourites.

1. Christmas card by Dahl and Geoffrey Collings

This card (at top) features a cartoon of a giant, a representation of iconic Australian actor Chips Rafferty, sitting on a stool having his huge beard combed by a tiny female figure, Quentin Rafferty. She stands with her left foot on the end of the giant’s left shoe and her right foot on the top of the back of a chair. The card relates to the filming of Eureka Stockade (1949) in which Chips Rafferty played the role of famed activist and politician, Peter Lalor.

2. Lace panel showing the story of Judith and Holofernes

Lace panel showing the story of Judith and Holofernes

Detail of Lace panel showing the story of Judith and Holofernes
Judith and Holofernes lace panel, maker unknown, England, mid 1600s, MAAS collection, A5335

This needle lace panel depicts the slaughter of Holofernes by Judith. The hair on all the figures in this panel, including Holofernes’ beard, is stitched with strands of human hair.

The central figure is Judith, as befits her heroic status. She is brandishing a sword in her right hand and holds Holofernes’ head by the hair in her left hand. Her maid holds a bag ready to receive the head. To her right, Holofernes lies with silk ‘blood’ (once probably red, now pink) pouring from his severed neck.

3. Mardi Gras costume by Peter Tully

Photograph of Mardi Gras costume
Mardi Gras costume made by Peter Tully, Sydney, 1990, MAAS collection, 95/172/1

This spectacular costume was made and worn by Peter Tully, Australian jeweller, designer and artistic director, in the 1990 Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras parade. The orange fluffy beard on the molded plastic monkey’s face, paired with yellow hologram eyes, is hard to spot among the colours and commotion. It was exhibited in the 1991 retrospective Peter Tully: Urban Tribalwear and Beyond at the National Gallery of Australia.

4. Brooch with photograph and hair

Photograph in brass broach

Brooch set with photograph and hair plait
Brooch set with photograph and hair plait, England, c.1870, MAAS collection, H7529

This handcoloured photograph dates from around 1870, the very early years of photography.

The subject, Captain R. J. Willer, sports some contrasting styles between the rebellious bristles of his beard and the careful curls of his hair. This brooch also features plaited human hair, in two colours, set into the back.

5. Actor Logan Moodley photographed by Bruno Bernini

Photograph portrait of actor Logan Moodley
Photographic portrait of actor Logan Moodley, photographed by Bruno Benini, Melbourne, 1963, MAAS collection, 2009/43/1-2/65

A head shot of actor Logan Moodley with moustache, beard and afro hairstyle. On the reverse of the photograph, Logan is described as an “actor from a Nativity play.”

If Bruno Benini particularly liked a shot he’d taken, he would make a print or ‘create a blow-up and then put it up on his studio wall’. The walls of his studio foyer were covered with these prints. Some were damaged over the years and thrown out, however many remain with corner pin holes intact. This is one of those prints.

6. Glass plate negative of Mr Calquohoun, Sydney

Portrait of Mr Calquohoun
Glass plate negative of studio portrait, unattributed studio, Sydney, c. 1880-1923, MAAS collection, 85/1286-1472

We don’t know who the stately Mr Calquohoun was, but his portrait was produced by a photography studio in Sydney between 1880 and 1923. Robert Tyrell bought the studio’s collection, along with others around Sydney, in 1929. His collection, including this shot of Mr Calquohoun and his beard, eventually made its way to the Museum as the Tyrell Photographic Collection.

7. Mr Devil as a carved timber hall stand

Mephistophelian figure depicting Mr Devil
Mephistophelian figure depicting Mr Devil as carved timber hall stand, maker unknown, Italy, 1870-1890, MAAS collection, A5121

These carved timber figures depict a fiendish-looking Mr and Mrs Devil in the form of hall stands. Mr Devil appears at right with curly hair, horns, pointed ears and goatee-style beard. These carvings were made in Italy between 1870 and 1890 but the figures’ clothes were based on the styles of the 1600s.

These figures once graced the front hall of the St Kilda mansion, Charmwood, in Melbourne, owned by Mr Alfred David Hart, the donor’s grandfather. Mr Devil’s outstretched hand indicates that he originally held a tray for calling cards.

8. A board of shearers

Photograph of sheep being sheared
Positive image from a scan of a Powerhouse Museum, Tyrrell Collection, glass plate negative
Photograph of sheep being sheared
Glass plate negative published by Kerry & Co., New South Wales, 1890-1917, MAAS collection, 85/1284

Another gem from our Tyrrell Photographic Collection. This glass plate negative was taken by the Sydney firm Charles Kerry & Co. Prints from these negatives appeared in many Australian publications and albums of views, well into the early 1900s. In 1903, the company began producing postcards from these negatives, further establishing the images (including this one with the shearer’s full beard) as some of the most significant and best known early views of New South Wales.

9. Women’s hair accessory made of human hair

Women's hair accessory
Women’s hair accessory, maker unknown, Australia, c.1880-1920, MAAS collection, A10824

A length of light brown, curled hair has been stitched to a black silk ribbon to create this hair accessory, somewhere between 1880 and 1920. It was purchased from the Wong Sat store in Fullerton, New South Wales.

10. Studio portrait of Sir Henry Parkes

Portrait of Sir Henry Parkes
Glass plate negative of studio portraits, unattributed studio, Sydney, c. 1880-1923, MAAS collection, 85/1286-1454

Last, but not least, is the white hair and beard of our Father of Federation. Five-times Premier of New South Wales between 1872 to 1891, today’s politicians have many reasons to admire this iconic figure of Australia’s political history.

Post by Rebecca Evans, Curator and Alli Burness, Digital Producer

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