Ca. 1872 - 1879. Hardcover. An impressive album of large albumen prints of Noumea, New Caledonia and Ile des Pins, the French penal colony which opened in 1872, along with many images of native New Caledonians, New Caledonian chiefs, Queen Hortense, and images of Sydney, Australia.
The album likely belonged to a French chemist, Charles Malan, as there is an image of an International Exhibition of 1879 certificate of award made out to "Charles Malan, Cajaput (sic) Oil" in the Sydney section of the album. Malan likely began a sandalwood oil (cajeput oil) factory in New Caledonia, traveling to Sydney to take part in the Exhibition and placing a photograph of his award in this album.
Of the 42 images of New Caledonia, a series of 12 are images of the penal colony for deported members of the Paris Commune, the revolutionary democratic socialist government that ruled Paris in the spring of 1871. By the time the revolution was suppressed, more than 100,000 men and women were killed or exiled to the colonies.
The Commune represented the great tradition of the French working class.
The French government chose New Caledonia and Ile des Pins as a site for transportation of convicts based on the British model of transportation to Botany Bay. Almost 4,000 Communards were exiled there in pursuance of the new deportation law enacted in early 1872.
The Ile des Pins images include the landing dock, gendarmerie (French police and indigenous people seated outside the building), the garrison, the officers' refectory, "case des Communards" (showing the Communards resting inside an open lean to, with native New Caledonians seated in the foreground), palace of Queen Hortense, the French mission at Vao, the Catholic church, and "Hortense et Samuel" (Queen and King of Ile des Pins).
Some of the prints are stamped on the verso "Allen (sic) Hughan"; he was appointed Government Photographer in New Caledonia, and inspected the prison installations for the Paris Communards in 1872, followed by a photographic expedition to the interior in 1874.
The New Caledonia prints include landscapes, bird's eye views of Noumea's harbor, trees, villages, rivers, native habitations, indigenous people including tribal chiefs, and several studio shots of New Caledonian family groups.
The Sydney images include ships at anchor in the bay, Martindale, landscapes, city landmarks, local businesses, and an image of the international exhibition 1879 certificate of award made out to Charles Malan, Cajaput Oil. There are also two carte de visite images of a Sydney shop, T. W. Stilling, Draper & Outfitters. A panoramic folding albumen view of an oil production plant and a map of the area (map of the area of Bouloupari (New Caledonia) loosely inserted; it is likely the cajeput oil plant of Charles Malan.
Each image with calligraphic handwritten titles in French below the albumen photograph.
The verso of the New Caledonia images with explanatory text, some written in English, others in French. There are 42 images of New Caledonia, and 19 of Sydney, Australia, with the latter part of the album displaying the images of Sydney.
Allan Hughan (1834 - 1883) was the noted British born photographer who established his business in Noumea in 1871 in Rue Sebastopol, advertising 'vues de Noumee et des environs' ('Moniteur', June 7, 1871). As Government Photographer he photographed the imprisoned Communards, the interior of New Caledonia, Queen Hortense and the mission station at Vao (1876). Hughan died in Tamoa, Toutouta, New Caledonia in 1883.
Small folio, 11 1/4 x 16". Dark green gilt and black stamped cloth covers, with "Album" in gilt at front board and spine, and ornate gilt borders. 42 photographs of New Caledonia, most 6 x 8" (a few 8 x 10"0 and presented 2 per page; 19 photographs of Sydney most 7 1/4 x 4 1/4". Some images tipped in at corners, others inserted into corner holders. Many of the album pages are very lightly and uniformly foxed, with some short closed tears in the margins. A couple of images with curled corners, 1 photo with a duplicate. Overall, in very good condition with mild condition issues. Item #23120