Franklin himself, though, was already quite familiar with the Daguerreotype process, and indeed with Richard Beard's studio. Francis Russell Nixon, the newly-consecrated Bishop of Van Diemen's Land, had in fact brought with him several of Beard's Daguerreotypes when he arrived in Hobart Town in 1843, and it's very likely Franklin saw them. Nixon also showed them to Alfred Bock, who was so delighted by them that he embarked on what was to be a lengthy career as one of Australia's pioneering photographers. Bock tried to establish a commercial studio, but was discouraged when George Barron Goodman -- who had purchased a sub-patent from Beard -- complained about Beck's advertisements. This pushed the opening of his establishment to 1847, though he seems to have been privately active as a photographer throughout the period of the delay.
|Dr. William Bland, by Goodman|
The takeway from all this is that Franklin, either through Bishop Nixon (who became a close friend of the Franklins), Bock (who was the son of the ex-convict painter Thomas Bock, known for his portrait of the Franklins' adopted daughter Mathinna), or Goodman, was surely acquainted with the Daguerreotype process. Further confirmation comes via an item published in the very first issue of the Tasmanian Journal -- the organ of the Royal Society of Tasmania, founded by the Franklins -- in which an excerpt from a letter from Dr. Richardson to Franklin was published, touching specifically on Daguerreotypes, their use in photographing natural history specimens (!), and a method for turning them directly into printing plates in order to reproduce them. While this method -- which was destructive of the original Daguerreotype -- never caught on, the fact that Franklin and Richardson were discussing it with such easily familiarity as early as 1840 seems quite clear evidence that both men had already taken a keen interest in the process, even before local operators arrived in Hobart.