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Object: Portrait of an unidentified soldier and three unidentified women [inscribed Brown]

This image has No Known Copyright Restrictions.

Title Portrait of an unidentified soldier and three unidentified women [inscribed Brown]
Production Berry & Co (photography studio), 1914-1919, Wellington
Medium summary black and white glass negative
Materials photographic gelatin, sheet glass, silver, photographic plates
Classification gelatin dry plate negatives, black-and-white negatives, group portraits, studio portraits
Technique black-and-white photography
Format half plate (1/2)
Credit line Purchased 1998 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds
Registration number B.044944

The Brown family, dressed in heavy woollen coats and draped in furs, obviously visited the Berry studio in the midst of a chilly Wellington winter, the bitterness of which perhaps permeated the studio walls that day.


Over 600 men bearing the surname Brown, enlisted for service in the First World War. While a generic NZEF badge is distinguishable on the smiling soldier’s collar, his Great Coat hides any other insignia that may have assisted in his identification. It is thought, however, that this is a family portrait – a brother with his three devoted sisters.


The woman seated next to the soldier also wears the NZEF insignia, but as a brooch rather than badge, just above her top button. Adapted  military badges could be readily purchased from local jewellers for soldiers to gift to family members and sweethearts. Worn publicly, such insignia declared that the wearer had a loved one at war.

I know who this is

The Berry Boys
During World War I, around 120 Kiwi soldiers had their photograph taken at Wellington’s Berry & Co photography studio before they left New Zealand to fight in the war . These portraits are now in Te Papa’s collection.

In the lead-up to the World War I centenary (2014-18), Te Papa is working to identify these soldiers and the loved ones they are pictured with. We want to make contact with their descendants, and to record their stories.

Some soldiers have already been identified. For others, we only have the surname etched on the glass negative.

Contact us
If you have any information you can share about the Berry Boys - either a soldier or someone they are photographed with - please use the online form above. You can also email or leave a phone message for us on 04 381 7129. You can also write to Berry Boys Project Team, Te Papa, PO Box 467, Wellington 6140.

To aid identification, please be sure to include the Te Papa registration number (B.044366, for example) for the photo in question.

Related information

Disclaimer: This information was created from historic documentation, and may not necessarily reflect the best available knowledge about the item. Some collection images are created for identification purposes only and may not be of reproduction quality. Some images are not available due to copyright restrictions. If you have information or questions about objects in the collection, contact us using our enquiry form. You can also find out more about Collections Online.