amateur photographer, was born in England. She married James How, a labourer from Melvern, Cambridgeshire and they had two sons, William (b. 1844) and Edward (b. 1848?). The family arrived at Port Phillip aboard the Royal George on 28 November 1849 under the assisted passage scheme. James How was initially employed in Melbourne by Joseph Raleigh, a merchant and wharf owner. In 1857 he was listed as one of the principal directors of How, Walker & Co., a merchant and shipping business started by a relative, Robert How, by which time the family was living at Woodlands, next door to the present-day Admiralty House on Kirribilli Point, North Sydney, (New South Wales).

How’s photographic knowledge probably came from several sources, including her copy of the 1850 English Art Journal , which contained several articles on the development of photography. Indeed her very first photograph was of an engraving in the same volume, a portrait of the Dowager Countess of Darnley after the painting by Sir Thomas Lawrence. She may have obtained photographic materials and tuition from professional studios in England or, more probably, Sydney. One local dealer, William Hetzer , was well known for his salted paper prints from half-plate glass negatives – the process How also favoured.

Most of Louisa Elizabeth How’s extant photographic work is contained in an album of forty-eight salted paper prints (ANG (Australian National Gallery, Canberra formerly, current: NGA – National Gallery of Australia, Canberra)). These date from her first photograph taken in October 1858 to January 1859. The majority are portraits of visitors to Woodlands and include the merchants George S. Caird, Robert P. Paterson (dated October 1858) and Hendricks Anderson, the explorer William Landsborough with his Aboriginal companion 'Tiger’, and the settler Charles Morison from Glenmorison, New England. Several are posed beside a stereoscopic viewer and cards. How also photographed Sydney Cove, Government House, Campbell’s Wharf and views around her own house and garden.

The Hows continued to live at Woodlands until about 1866, then moved to Calingra at Woollahra, Sydney. The reason for the move seems to have been the declining fortunes of the How merchant company, which lost one of its principal directors in 1861 and five years later disappeared from business listings in directories. James How died in about 1869 and a year later Louisa moved house to Heaton, also in Woollahra. Little is known of her life or that of her children from this period, except that the family moved several times before Louisa’s death in 1893 at the age of seventy-two.

Crombie, Isobel Note: Primary
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