A collection of stereophotographs of 'New Guinea, New Britain, Solomon, and many other islands during 1899'. Alexander Williamson DOBBIE.

A collection of stereophotographs of 'New Guinea, New Britain, Solomon, and many other islands during 1899'

[Adelaide, A.W. Dobbie, circa 1899].

A boxed set of 42 stereophotographs (all but two with detailed printed captions mounted either recto or verso), complete with the printed introduction mounted on both sides of a blank stereophotograph card; in excellent condition.

'Alexander Williamson Dobbie (1843-1912), brassfounder, merchant and inventor ... photographer, pianist, optician, astronomer and gardener ... also a writer of direct, individual style' ('Australian Dictionary of Biography'). His parents emigrated to South Australia in 1851, and Scotland was the poorer. The printed introduction ('A Few Words from the Author of these Views', September 1906) provides the detailed itinerary of the trip, undertaken between June and August 1899, and some sharp commentary on local practices. Some of the printed captions leave nothing to the imagination either. One example regards the method of carrying pigs witnessed in a village on Dobu Island: 'They tie the four legs together in the most cruel manner with strips of sharp cane, which cuts to the bone; then slip a pole between the legs and two men jog along whilst the poor pig is screaming with agony. I followed them for half a mile before I could have a chance of taking the photograph'. Intriguingly, we have a second example of this card, essentially a proof version. The images are the same, but they are mounted a few millimetres apart (not abutted) on a larger card (100 × 178 mm; all the others are 87 × 176 mm), with a truncated version of the caption in Dobbie's hand (and signed by him) on the margin below one photograph. 'Sample picture, but the card to be smaller' is written in pencil on the verso, probably by Dobbie. His last words on the subject appear at the foot of his introductory notes: 'Purchasers of these views will please note that the whole of my part of the profit will go to the benefit of the Missions in New Guinea, New Britain, and Solomon Islands'.

Item #115682


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