Ca. 1890. Eight intriguing Victorian stereoview cards with image of an investiture in Fiji, possibly of Sir John Bates Thurston or Governor George O'Brien, who served as governor of the British colony from 1888 to 1897. Seven of the images are of Fiji; the eighth is a portrait of 3 Europeans on board ship (later image, after 1900).
The Fiji images include: 1. the constabulary at bayonet exercises; 2. Fijian traditional Meke performance; 3. a spectating crowd inside a native hall; 4. Governor (possibly) taking his official seat before a large crowd in a highly decorated open sided hall; 5. A mostly European crowd observing from the verandah of a large shed; 6. A naval march past the Governor (most likely) taking the salute; 7. Natives hauling fire wood down a main street; 8. A European husband & wife with another woman on the deck of a ship.
Governor Thurston is noted for his negotiations with Chief Cakobau and other chiefs. Thurston's primary goal was to annex Fiji to England and to establish sugar operations there; he served as Premier for a short time during annexation, later as Colonial Secretary before becoming governor.
A few of the cards have been personalized by a previous owner who has cut them and attached some of the images together using French period writing paper & part of a French sugar wrapper on the verso as hinges. The period ink writing on the hinges is in French; other cards have English annotations handwritten in pencil on verso. Two of the cards are halves; a single photographic image. One is full image and repeated, but only three quarters. Four of Fiji are on a single piece of board. Images somewhat faded. Good condition. Item #25529