Enlarged up to Life Size

Come and hear the story of Ah Hing, a Cantonese polymath in 1880s Sydney who added a new dimension to the creation of life-size portraits from photographs.

From the late 1860s, some Sydney photographic studios sent their clients’ photographs to Singapore or Hong Kong for reproduction as full-size portraits; a few had the option of enlargements done in-house by Chinese artists. Ah Hing arrived in Sydney in 1877, prepared to turn his hand to anything to make his fortune. Having been raised in a wealthy Chungshan (Zhongshan) household, he had been taught to paint well enough to get work with the George Street studio of photographer Charles Kerry: the studio offered portraits “enlarged up to life size in Oil or Water colors to order.”

Ah Hing continued with this side-line for the next twenty years or more, in Sydney and Parramatta. In the early 20th Century, as Henry (Cheng) Fine Chong, he would become the ‘in-house’ painter for the Sydney branch of the Chinese Empire Reform Association. Several of his works remain in the hands of his great-grandchildren, and are the inspiration for this illustrated presentation.

Event date

Event Details

280 Pitt Street, Sydney, New South Wales

This event will be presented in the newly refurbished Henry Carmichael Theatre on the first floor.

Light refreshments are included


2.30pm - 4.00pm

Entry fees:
Adults $ 15
Prebooking requireddblunt@bigpond.net.au02 4861 3078
Attendance limit:
100 - 150
Onsite facilities:
Other things
you need to know:
The SMSA is a short distance from Town Hall station and bus stops.