New Zealand Commonplace book of Thomas Donne, an early promoter of New Zealand.
London: ca. 1914. Hardcover. A Commonplace book of Thomas Donne, a New Zealand civil servant who rose to prominence as a promoter of New Zealand trade, tourism and Maori culture.
Donne was born in Melbourne in 1859, and entered the New Zealand civil service in 1875 as a cadet in the Telegraph Department, Wellington. He was soon transferred to the Railways Department where he was promoted, becoming the district manager in 1894.
In New Zealand, Donne found his calling. He clearly loved the country and his position on the railway exposed him to much of its' beauty. He went on to promote New Zealand trade, tourism & significantly, Maori culture at world and national fairs. In 1900, he became the undersecretary in the Department of Industries and Commerce and in 1904 he was responsible for New Zealand's representation at the St Louis World's Fair exhibition. He arranged for 10 portraits of significant Maori by Gottfried Lindauer to be borrowed from the Partridge Collection for exhibition at this fair. These portraits now form part of the permanent exhibit at the De Young Museum of Art in San Francisco. In 1909 Donne was appointed Trade and Immigration Commissioner at the New Zealand High Commission in London, and contributed to New Zealand's presence at the Imperial International Exhibition, London
He was also a collector of Maori antiquities and New Zealand fine art. His interest in Maori culture led him to record his findings and articles of interest in scrapbooks. When he left New Zealand for London, he took some of his collection with him but the remainder was sold at auction on 18 and 19 May 1909 by H.J. Bethune & Co. When in London he continued to develop his collection and corresponded, purchased and swapped artifacts, works on paper and artworks with numerous other collectors including Horatio Gordon Robley, Kenneth Athol Webster, and Alfred Walter Francis Fuller. (Wikipedia)
This album was assembled while Donne was posted to London and follows various threads including NZ politicians, Captain Cook and especially where he landed in NZ, early religious figures (Marsden, Selwyn), George Grey (whom he was friends with) & early white settlers. Much of the album is devoted to aboriginal peoples, mostly Maori but also Solomon Islands & Fiji, Australian Aboriginals, Tonga, etc.
The source of his clippings is varied. Some are real photos; newspaper and magazine clippings; copper engravings from Alexander Hogg's Cook's voyages, ca. 1785; other early lithographs & aquatints (2 aquatints O'Whyhee 1824, Tyaana, mezzotint 1789, panoramic view of Auckland, lithograph c. 1840). One image of New Caledonian aboriginal implements & two Maori jade ornaments are presumably from an auction catalogue as the achieved prices are listed underneath (55 & 32 NZ pounds each).
Real photos include- Cooks Cove, Fologa Bay, silver gelatin, Oct 1901; Governors & Administrators of NZ 1840-1914; Prime Ministers of NZ - 1913, 3 Maori carved wooden pa panels, Pickersgill Harbour, Dusky Bay, 1901; 4 pounder gun cast overboard Barrier Reef Australia on display Gisborne NZ 1901; Mangrove River, Mercury Bay, 1901; Ship's Cove Queen Charlotte Sound, 1901; Mallicolo New Hebrides with native 1901; Cook's 1st Landing Memoria 8 Oct 1907, signed W.F.C.; Addendum to Monument of Cook's Visits, Dec 1912; Tomb of George Selwyn; 4 RP photos of Sir George Grey; Maori with gun in traditional dress; large photographic copy of a presentation to King George V & Queen Mary, 1st March 1911.
He has written notations on many of the images. is commentaries on various personalities (Sir George Grey and I were friends for many years; at one time we resided in the same home T.E.D (Donne's initials). Arrival of Maori in New Zealand, a print of a painting with manuscript annotation "I took this to the Louisiana Purchase Exposition 1904-05…" ; a portion of a large sepia lithograph with extensive notation around the edges "this is the portion of a picture that represents the interior of and old time Maori pa... the building is a pataka or food store... all cooking was done in an earth covered oven. Umu, Hangi, Hopi, Konao, Konao, Kore, etc..."
Donne donated, sold or auctioned parts of his collection throughout his life and items that had been owned by him can be found in the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, the Field Museum, the Linden Museum and of course in the Alexander Turnbull Library.
Some of Donne's commonplace books are recorded there under the reference MSX-2357 and MS-Group-0028.
Album, oblong 4to (13 ½ x 11 x 1 ½"). Approx. 100pp. Spine worn with tears, covers rubbed, some pages ruffled, binding loose but holding. Album manufactured by Wightman Mountain & Andrews in Westminster, SW. Item #26726