A photograph taken late in life of the cricketer 'regarded as the world's premier all-rounder at the end of the nineteenth century'. Cricket, George GIFFEN.

A photograph taken late in life of the cricketer 'regarded as the world's premier all-rounder at the end of the nineteenth century'

A vintage gelatin silver photograph (image size 209 × 157 mm), on the original cardboard mount (297 × 224 mm); old backing paper on the verso of the mount is inscribed 'Geo Giffen & one of his Pupils 1926'. The photographer is not identified.

The photograph has residual glue to its surface along a narrow strip down the left-hand side, with two tiny spots of glue near two other edges (from an old window mat, now removed; a new mat masking these blemishes would result in a visible image size of approximately 200 × 145 mm).

George Giffen (1859-1927) made five tours to England between 1882 and 1896, in a career of 31 Tests (including four as captain); he declined to tour on another two occasions. His first-class career spanned 27 years (1877-1903); he performed the match double of a century and ten wickets no fewer than nine times; he became the first Australian to reach the Test double of 1000 runs and 100 wickets, and he remains the only Australian with 10,000 runs and 1000 wickets in first-class cricket (information from Martin-Jenkins, 1995 and OCAC, 1996). His obituary in Wisden concludes thus: 'After being a Civil Servant in the General Post Office at Adelaide for 43 years, he retired on pension in March, 1925, thereafter finding the chief delight of his life, whilst health permitted, in coaching young boys in a purely honorary capacity'. The parochial newspaper, the Gawler 'Bunyip' (Friday 2 December 1927), puts it somewhat less prosaically: 'So unquenchable was his love for the game that even when he was into the sixties he gave members of the coming generation the value of his knowledge by coaching them on a pitch in the south parklands at 6 am for some time, and none will regret his death more than those lads to whom he played the part of big brother. Mr Giffen was employed as a letter sorter in the mails branch of the GPO for more than 43 years, and retired from the service on March 27, 1925, having reached the age of 64 years'. This charming photograph, taken in the year before his death, depicts George Giffen keeping wicket for one of those youngsters. Despite being a local hero for well over a century, any Giffen memorabilia is rare in our experience.

Item #122042

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