A.M. Duggan-Cronin


Reproductions of Photographic Studies by A.M. Duggan-Cronin

Published: Deighton Bell, Cambridge, 1929 - 1941

Edition: 1st.'s

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This lot comprises first editions of 7 of the 11 volumes in this important series published by Deighton Bell in Cambridge for the Alexander McGregor Memorial Museum in Kimberley. As follows:

1. Vol. II, Section I, Plates I - XXVI. Sub-Group I - THE BECHUANA. Text by G.P. Lestrade. 1929.

2. Vol. II, Section II, Plates XXVII - LII. THE SUTO-CHUANA TRIBES. Sub-Group II THE BAPEDI (TRANSVAAL BASUTHO). Text by Werner Eiselen. 1931.

3. Vol. II, Section III, Plates LIII - LXXVIII. THE SUTO-CHUANA TRIBES. Sub-Group III THE SOUTHERN BASOTHO. Text by G.P. Lestrade. 1933. 

4. Vol. IV, Section I, Plates I - XL. THE VATHONGA. Text by H.P. Junod. 1935. 

5. Vol. IV, Section II, Plates XLI - LXXX. THE VACHOPI. Text by H.P. Junod. 1936. 

6. Vol. III. Section I, Plates I - XL. THE NGUNI and THE CISKEI AND SOUTHERN TRANSKEI TRIBES (XHOSA and THEMBU). Text by N.J. van Warmelo and W.G. Bennie. 1939.

7. Vol III. Section IV, Plates CXXI - CLII. THE NGUNI and THE SWAZI. Text by Hilda Bremer. 1941. 

All 7 volumes are in the original grey stiff card printed wraps. Containing a total of 230 full-page photographic plates on heavy stock paper. Six of the volumes (all but No.3) have the William Kentridge designed ex-libris of well-known art historian and dealer Warren Siebrits, either on the verso of the front cover or on the front free endpaper. Item 5 also has a second ex-libris on the front free endpaper. 

Condition. All volumes are in about very good condition or better. Some have slight toning or mild staining on the covers. Item 6 has slight fraying and loss at the base of the spine. Most volumes have mild foxing of the edges which extends to the edges of some pages but it is generally light and most plates are unaffected. Please see the multiple images provided which are self explanatory. 

Overall a nice clean set and it is unusual to have as many as 7 volumes offered together. Please bear in mind shipping costs as this is a heavy lot. 

A rebound set of 7 Volumes offered recently by top US dealers, Bauman Rare Books, had the following description:


Duggan-Cronin settled in South Africa in 1897 to take a job with De Beers Consolidated Mines in Kimberley. Later, on vacation in Ireland in 1904, he bought a 10-shilling box camera, and upon returning to Africa, pursued "what he called a 'sympathetic interest' in the different tribal people he met working at the mines of Kimberly. They became his first subjects and his photography might have remained there, had it not been for an initial push from Dr. Maria Wilman, Director of the McGregor Museum. Wilman sent him off to photograph the Bushmen of the Langeberge in Griqualand West" and he was later supported by grants and government subsidies, which also enabled the publication of these volumes. "From 1919 to 1939 he traveled under perilous conditions, sometimes even on foot and lugging the heavy equipment of the time," including the cumbersome glass plates that he developed in the field (Sunday Times). "By this time the typical Bantu tribal life was fast disappearing... Cronin traveled 128,000 km. and took 8,000 photographs of various tribes, including the Pobndo, Basuto and Ovambo. He also photographed the Shangaan of Mozambique, tribes in Southern Rhodesia and... Zambia" (DSAB). Intent on fully documenting a land and its people - represented here in subtle landscapes and elegant portraits of tribal chiefs, women with their children, families, hunters, herdsmen and artisans - Cronin recorded the place and date on each of his photographs and "often a bit of the family tree of the person written on the back of the print. Cronin didn’t photograph his subjects and leave, but rather developed and printed them wherever he was. It often meant working until late at night but… he was able to show the people the pictures. ‘I think the Natives have the idea I am trying to belittle them. I am not. My aim is to get a faithful photographic record of native life before… the opportunity is lost" (Sunday Times). Cronin established South Africa’s first Bantu Museum in 1925 and later donated a collection of 750 prints to the city of Kimberly. To archivist Thierry Secretan, who in the 1990's organised a major retrospective, "Duggan-Cronin is one of the top ten photographers of the first half of the 20th century... I believe he is right up there with Edward Curtis who documented the ethnology of the North American Indians. He is easily comparable with Desirée Charney in Mexico and John Thompson in China… But he was also attentive to the beauty and elegance in the lives of lowly workers."

  • Binding Condition: Very Good
  • Overall Condition: Very Good
  • Size: 4to.
  • Sold By: Ronald Levine - Modern First Editions
  • Contact Person: Ronald Levine
  • Country: South Africa
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Telephone: 011643 8437
  • Preferred Payment Methods: EFT for South African customers and International Bank Tranfer for customers abroad. I am unable to accept payment by credit card.
  • Trade Associations: SABDA

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