Antiquarian Auctions

Auction #113 begins on 29 Feb 2024

Unknown Photographer

1880s Photograph Album with 40 Images of South Africa

Possibly 1870s - very early real photographs of South Africa scenes and natives.

Published: n/a, South Africa, 1880

Edition: Manuscript

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This is a very interesting photograph album of 42 images. What makes them unusual is the early date. I have erred on the side of caution with the 1880s; they could well be 1870s. There are ten large (17 cm by 12 cm approx ) images including Table Mountain, Devils Peak from Black River, Green Point, Cape Town, natives washing clothes, The Eastern Province Boating Company (probably Port Elizabeth) and what appears to be an early settler's camp. Some of these have faint pencil captions, see image 4, Green Point. The other thirty are smaller ( 9 cm by 6 cm approx ) and show similar scenes but have no captions. They include Simon's Bay and many views of streets, early municipal buildings, churches and scattered houses. There are also eight showing native groups and portraits including King Moshoehoe. The photographs appear to be albumen prints on very thin paper. They are laid down. Some are contemporary copies of other photographs. The one of Cape Town seems to have been torn across before mounting. There are no names anywhere and the rest of the album is blank.

Blue leather album, 28 cm by 21 cm approx, gilt decoration, a little rubbed to edges and points but would spruce up, all edges gilt, silk moire endpapers - a very good quality album of very interesting, unique images. Much research potential.

  • Binding Condition: Excellent
  • Overall Condition: Excellent
  • Size: Oblong octavo

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