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'Gentleman Ned' photo not Ned Kelly! So, who is it then?

Perhaps... Senior Constable John Kelly ???

The man in the Christie's photo was proven not to be Ned Kelly some time ago, but the question still remains. Who is it?
Dave White saw this sketch and wonder if the mystery photo might be a different 'Kelly'. This print of Senior Constable Kelly (circa 1880), shows similarities to the man in the Christie's photo (circa 1874-5).

Many thanks to The State Library of Victoria, La Trobe Picture Collection and Dianne Reilly for kind permission to use this picture (left).


The Age tests prove 'Boxing Ned' photo authentic. (see Age article 23/05/02 below)

4/06/02 'Kelly photo settlement'
According to The Age

Christie's auction house released a statement yesterday saying that an "amicable settlement" had been reached with the buyer of a photograph mistakenly believed to show Ned Kelly. It has apparently refunded the purchase price and "contributed to other expenses incurred by the purchaser".

23/05/02 'Kelly buyer takes on Christie's' (Andrew Rule)
According to The Age

The disgruntled buyer Luke has "bailed up" Christie's over what he claims is questionable behavior surrounding the sale. Christie's had offered a refund but Luke has "taken a stand", instructing his lawyers to make a tougher settlement. Solicitor Tony Kelly said his client had been humiliated and denied what should have been a sound investment, tying up money that could have been profitably invested in other ways.
When Cliff Ogleby superimposed Ned's death mask over other images, it "fitted" 4 authentic Kelly photos - including one of Kelly in a boxing pose, but the death mask did not match the Christie's photo Luke bought.
Mr Ludgrove of Christie's and noted noted Kelly historian Ian Jones conceeded the demonstration proved beyond a doubt it was not of Kelly, and therefore virtually worthless. Luke declined to accept the refund on the spot. Had they acted on Dr. Chapman's warning, run their own checks and then contacted him voluntarily he would have taken the money with no hard feelings.
A spokesman for the State Library confirmed last night that a library expert had contacted Mr Jones before the auction to discuss misgivings about the photo. The expert challenged the photo's authenticity and had been unconvinced by Mr Jones' arguments that it was Ned Kelly.
For full story go to The Age

23/05/02 'Ned Kelly photo doubts proved correct'
According to ABC

The man responsible for proving a photo believed to be of Ned Kelly was not genuine, claims he always had his suspicions about the picture's authenticity. The expert, Cliff Ogilby, says after he compared computer images of Kelly's death mask with other authentic Kelly pictures, few believed the disputed photograph was the infamous bushranger. "The ear never looked quite right," Mr Ogilvy said."The lips are probably not in the right position but it's a bit hard to see, but the ear is so dominant and the shape of the eyebrows that everyone was in agreement that that couldn't be Ned Kelly."

22/05/02 'Auction house refunds mistaken Kelly photo'
According to The Age

Auction house Christie's has agreed to refund a man who paid $19,080 for a photo of Ned Kelly, which turned out to be just another bearded man.
The picture caused a flutter in March when it achieved the second highest price ever paid for a Kelly photo. But forensic scientists have claimed the photo isn't Kelly at all.
Christie's head of rare books and manuscripts, Michael Ludgrove, told The Age that the photograph had originally been authenticated by two high-profile Kelly historians, Ian Jones and Keith McMenomy.
Mr Jones yesterday accepted the findings of Melbourne University geomatics expert Cliff Ogleby, who compared it to computer models of Kelly's death mask, Mr Ludgrove said.
He said the Melbourne buyer, who wished to remain anonymous, would be fully refunded.
For full story go to The Age

22/05/02 'Ned photo sale sparks inquiry'
According to The Border Mail

A Glenrowan historian has a plan to uncover the true identity of a controversial photograph supposedly of bushranger Ned Kelly.
Mr Gary Dean, who runs the Glenrowan Cobb and Co souvenir and musuem, said yesterday he was surprised to hear a photograph of 'Gentleman Ned' had sold at auction for almost $20,000 because he had seen it a decade ago and immediately dismissed it. The photograph was supposedly taken at Beechworth in 1875 or 1876. Kelly was released from jail in 1874 at age 19 for being in possession of a stolen horse. The photograph was sold for $19,080 by Christie's in Melbourne on March 26 and was described as a "unique print of an important Kelly portrait".
Mr Dean said he saw the photograph about a decade ago and immediately dismissed it as not being genuine. "The proportions do not match," he said. But after the auction he sent a copy of the photograph to Adelaide University for comparison to a known picture of the bushranger, the boxing Ned photograph. Mr Tim Anson, a PhD student from the anatomical science department, said he did not think the photographs matched.
Mr Dean said the photograph had "Ned Kelley" written on the back but that was not enough to prove authenticity. The differing spelling did not rule out authentication but there were at least two other people in the North East with the bushranger's name during his lifetime. It was also possible the inscription could have been added by later generations. "Trying to prove the authenticity of these things can be difficult," Mr Dean said. He said he would hang an enlargement of the photograph in his musuem in the hope that someone would identify the man.
The head of rare books and manuscripts at Christie's Mr Michael Ludgrove, said the auction house was using new technology to test the authenticity of the photograph and the results should be known today. Mr Ludgrove said if the photograph was not authentic the buyer, who remained anonymous, would receive a refund.
Mr Dean said Kelly was a rich man at age 19 because he owned 33 horses and he liked to dress well. But he still did not think the well-dressed person in the Christie's photograph was Ned.

21/05/02 'Local historian confirms suspicions about Ned Kelly photo'
According to ABC (Goulburn Murray)

According to local Glenrowan historian, Gary Dean, it's no surprise that a recent photograph of Ned Kelly, auctioned earlier this year by Christies, is now thought to be of someone else.
Gary Dean sent a copy of the photo to forensic scientists at Adelaide University, who confirmed his suspicions that it couldn't be Kelly - when compared to other photos of Ned, the scientists discovered the facial structure was from another person entirely.
Mr Dean says there are many photos that claim to be of both Ned Kelly and his family, but that many of them - some of his own included - are incorrectly identified. He says he's surprised other Kelly historians, including renowned Kelly specialist Ian Jones, were also mislead by the photo.
For full story and audio interview with Gary Dean go to ABC

21/05/02 'Ned Kelly photo mystery'
According to BBC news

Dr John Chapman, a retired dental surgeon living in Melbourne, raised concerns about its authenticity. "The photo was on the front page of the Christie's catalogue," he said. "As a head and neck expert with an interest in Australian history I could see it wasn't Ned. I even took measurements and checked it against undisputed police photos. It's no more Ned Kelly than I am."
For full story go to BBC

21/05/02 'Stand and deliver a $19K refund, says buyer of mistaken Kelly Portrait' (Andrew Rule)
According to The Age

The buyer of the photograph Luke, is angry and reluctant to publish his surname. He was phoned by a friend who saw the article in The Age Saturday morning. Christie's had sold him the photo 7 weeks earlier, after being authenticated by "one of the bushranger's greatest fans...amateur historian Ian Jones..." The photo had also been vouched for by Keith McMemony. The problem, according to computer evidence used by measurement and anatomy experts, is that the picture isn't of Kelly at all.
When Luke had taken the photo home his girlfriend was said to have asked him if it was sure it was not actually a picture, taken at Sovereign Hill theme park, of Michael Tuck.
Luke says he is angry as it appears Christie's had brushed aside warnings from John Chapman that the picture was wrong. Luke told The Age, "I now believe that this photograph always had a cloud hanging over it...If it hadn't hit the press I would be none the wiser." He hopes Mr Jones will agree to study computer evidence, as he has arranged to take the photo to geomatics expert Cliff Oglby. He has asked his lawyer Tony Kelly, to represent him in any negotiations.
For full story go to The Age

20/05/02 'Real or Fake, the $19K Ned Kelly photo puzzle' (Anna Cock)
According to The Daily Telegraph

This $19,080 question is one that most Ned Kelly experts think they have the answer. Historians say it is a photograph of Ned Kelly, whereas forensic scientists claim it is simply an anonymous colonial. It was on Mr Jones' assessment and verification that Christie's auctioned the photo on March 26. Mr Jones was reported to have said that he was unimpressed by people "...jumping up and down saying it is not Ned Kelly". He was convinced saying, "Everything checks...even in amazing detail like the belt he is wearing." But he did not take advice from the forensic scientists who challenged the authentisity of the photo.
Glenrowan historian Gary Dean sent a copy of the photo to the anatomical scientists at the University of Adelaide. From the results of the study Mr Dean told the Daily Telegraph they were certain it is not Ned Kelly. He also cast doubts over other pictures in the Christie's sale and said another Kelly photo sold in 1991 for $10,000 had later been identified as a goldminer. Mr Dean said, "Ian Jones knows a hell of a lot, but he's only as good as his information sources and we all make mistakes - I think he has probably been a bit foolish in that he didn't check it out with the professionals."

19/05/02 'Awkward day for Kelly expert' (Paul Heinrichs)
According to The Age

Usually ebullient, Ian Jones, the Ned Kelly expert, is sounding distinctly uncomfortable.
As the person who had authenticated a Ned Kelly photo sold at auction on March 26 for $19,080 but now believed not to be authentic after computer analysis, he rang the anonymous buyer yesterday. The man knew all about it. "I don't think he wants to talk about it at the moment," Mr Jones said, " . . . it was quite a blow." According to Christie's executive Michael Ludgrove, the firm had relied on Mr Jones' opinion.
Mr Jones yesterday found himself in the "very awkward" position between buyer and seller - and not having seen the analysis, remains unconvinced he is wrong until it is proved to him. "Nothing to date has swayed me," he says of the photo he always calls "respectable Ned".
At the behest of The Age, the computer analysis was performed by three independent university-based forensic dental and head experts, who said the measurements of ears, nose, forehead and eyebrow ridges did not accord with other photos of Ned Kelly, nor with his death mask.
The photo showed him at the right height, the right build, wearing the right sort of clothes, and even his belt looked like the unusual one reputedly found on him in Glenrowan years later, now on exhibition in the Old Melbourne Gaol.

For the full story go to The Age

18/05/02 The Age 'This photograph of Ned Kelly cost a collector $19,000. There is just one problem...' (Andrew Rule)
According to The Age

Front page of Melbourne paper the The Age's leading story has disclosed that the photograph referred to as 'Gentleman' or 'Respectable Ned' has had its authenticity strongly disputed by a number of experts.
Christie's director took a call on 29/04/02 from a retired dental surgeon and amateur historian, John Chapman, who warned him that the photo was not Ned Kelly.
Chapman knows the anatomy of the human head, but as he told Christie's, it hardly takes an expert to pick differences between the man in the photo and the real Ned Kelly, as shown in authentic police photographs.
In order to prove Chapman was correct, The Age went to the forensic dental experts who help police identify bodies. Including the credible John Clement (a forensic orthodontist) and Ronn Taylor (a dental prosthetist). Taylor says, "There's no way I can get a match. I don't reckon it's the same person. If I am wrong I will eat my hat."
A senior lecturer in geomatics Cliff Ogleby, is an expert in measurement, saw a copy of the photograph before the auction and thought it looked wrong. This week he tested the photograph against the computer image of the death mask of Kelly's shaved head. When placed over the Christie's photograph it does not match. He said that Heath Ledger matched Kelly's face much better than the man in the photo. "There is no way it's the same person, I have got about 40 students here who agree with me," he said.
Richard Neave is one of the world's leading forensic experts on the shape of the ears. He told The Age: "The supposed photograph of Mr Ned Kelly is not of him but of some other person."
*Mr Ludgrove said last night his firm relied on Ian Jones' opinion in authenticating the photograph. He said if Christie's was satisfied there had been a mistake they would consider reimbursing the buyer.
For the full story go to The Age

27/03/02 The Age 'The Kelly Gang bowled over by cricketers'

"Most sat on their hands as lot after lot was passed in." Apparently the sale of photos wasn't as successful as hoped. It was reported that the photos were, "Put up for sale by descendants of Ellen Kelly, Ned's mother, other relatives and sympathisers..." (Who exactly remains to be reported). The highest price went to a photograph of what is widely being referred to as "respectable" or 'gentleman Ned' (pictured below), which fetched a whopping $19,080. It was sold to a private collector over the phone. No other sale prices were reported, but Beechworth museum was said to purchase a number of photos. Including a picture of Aaron Sherritt, and a dead Joe Byrne.

Read what I had to say about the Photograph back in March below...

27/03/02 Gentleman Ned Photograph?

The authenticity of the newly discovered 'gentleman Ned' photograph has not been publicly established, but respected 'Kelly experts' Ian Jones and Keith McMenomy are both confident that it is Ned Kelly. At this point however - I reserve judgment! I am not questioning the genuineness of the vendor, nor the idea that Ned was a 'gentlemanly' man - but there are some anomalies in the picture that causes us to question the subject's identity. Namely, the eyebrows, cheekbones, ears and the colouring of the man pictured.

Firstly, in every authenticated photograph of Ned (i.e. his prison photos), Ned's eyebrows are very clearly dark, flat and straight. Yet this picture shows lighter and quite distinctly curved eyebrows! Another detail that is somewhat different would be the man's ears. Ned's ears appeared flatter against his head, almost curved, whereas this man's ears turn out and are larger at the top. Ned also had very prominent cheekbones, and in this picture the subject does not appear to have particularly defined cheekbones at all. The light colouring of the features of the man in the photo has been explained by the strong light from a skylight in the room where the picture was taken. Yet a skylight would more likely have highlighted the prominence of his cheekbones rather than disguised them. Even when the photograph has been re-printed and considerably darkened (as below) - the general colouring of the subject's features are markedly lighter than other photos of Ned Kelly. The hair also appears to be lighter in contrast to the beard - this too was unlike Ned. However all that aside, it does indeed resemble Ned Kelly - but then again so did many of his relatives. (Any number of which could have had their photo taken with those particular props, which were most likely provided by the Beechworth photographer James Bray). The biggest claim to its authenticity seems to be of all things, the belt and boots - but these are hardly reliable factors in my opinion. Old photos are often misidentified even by family members, and this is possibly the case in this instance, (see note below). If this photograph is not that of Ned Kelly, it could possibly be one of his relatives!

Misidentified Photo
We have all seen the photo of George King in 'A short life' by Ian Jones, (p. 53). This photograph was up for auction by Christies recently. (It is from the Ellen King - Ellen Knight - Elsie Pettifer collection of historically significant Kelly photographs.) But it does show how easily even family members can misidentify photos!
No.119 'George King, second husband of Ellen Kelly'
Re the identification of this picture....Quote from the Christie's catalogue (p.29)
"This portrait was unidentified for many years until a family member noted a resemblance to Joe Byrne, lieutenant of the Kelly gang, and inscribed Joe's name on the back of the mount. Aware that the police had confused Joe Byrne with George King in 1878, Ian Jones suggested to descendants in 1995 that this could be in fact a portrait of King. After comparison with several portraits of King's children, family members accepted the identification."


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Thanks to D. White for pointing out the photo of police officer Kelly, for supporting my efforts to dispute the 'Gentleman' photo, and for drawing my attention to some of the above news articles and information.

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