SCARCE 1880 ALBUM OF PHOTOGRAPHIC SCENERY OF SOUTH AFRICA, WITH 100 VINTAGE COLLOTYPE PRINTS OF CAPE TOWN, DIAMOND MINES, BATTLE SCENES FROM THE ZULU WAR AND PORTRAITS OF TRIBAL PEOPLES
ALEXANDER, Sam. Photographic Scenery of South Africa. [Syracuse, New York]: Sam Alexander, 1880. Thick quarto, original full maroon morocco, gilt-stamped pictorial front board, gilt ruled spine, watered silk endpapers, all edges gilt. $4500.
First edition of this handsome 1880 photographic album, published by subscription only, containing 100 vintage collotype prints of colonial South Africa, each measuring 4 by 5-1/2 inches, captioned and mounted on heavy gilt-edged stock, with mounted collotype portrait of British colonial leader Sir Henry Bartle Edward Frere on the title page, richly bound in original morocco gilt.
This handsome photographic album of South Africa, issued by subscription only, contains 100 vintage collotype prints of South African cities and towns, verdant landscapes and portraits of tribal peoples.The splendid 4 by 5-1/2 inch views, each mounted on thick gilt-edged stock, feature images of Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Zanzibar, mountain waterfalls, the “Diamond Fields” of De Beer’s Mine and others, Bird Island, King Williams Town, Natal, the Transvaal Gold Fields, Mozambique and scenes of battles from the Zulu War. Albums such as this, with its important contemporary visual history of colonial South Africa, prove central to an understanding of colonial histories in documenting military campaigns, “topographical features… and visible mineral resources,” while also demonstrating photography’s role as “an integral part of… the colonial enterprise” (Lenman, 132). The volume also includes informative text on South African history and a biographical essay on British statesman Sir Henry Bartle Frere, to whom this volume is dedicated. Frere served as “governor of the Cape and high commissioner for the settlement of native affair in South Africa” and his leadership was instrumental during the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879 (DNB). Printed by Sam Alexander and issued by subscription only, with 100 tissue-guarded vintage collotype prints produced by Marion and Company, a London photographic firm. Many prints initaled “SA” on the recto in the lower right corner, plate No. 16 signed by William Roe of Graaff Reinet, others unsigned. With letterpress text and captions; engraved ornamental initials, head- and tailpieces. Vintage oval collotype portrait of Frere mounted on illustrated title page. Mendelssohn I:21; II:345. Owner inkstamps.
Plates and text fresh and bright, light edge-wear to original morocco boards. A near-fine copy of fascinating photographic album.