c. 1890. An extraordinary collection of cabinet card photographs recording the Haddon Rig stud, the famed merino stud in Marthaguy NSW, clearly successful even at this early juncture, by a short-lived itinerant photographic studio owned by Eugene Fitzalan, an early botanist in Queensland.
The stud was established by James Richmond in 1882 on Marthaguy Creek, NSW, and has been owned by the Falkiner family for over 100 years. It is named after the Battle of Haddon Rig, a victory for the Scots in the Scottish / English border wars of 1542.
Four of the images bear the stamp of "E. Fitzalan Photo Artist" on the verso. The other three are by Fitzalan but are not stamped. The images are inscribed on the verso in early ink inscriptions- Woolshed, Haddon Rig; Wool stores, Haddon Rig (2 copies); Shearing floor, Haddon Rig; Home Station, Haddon Rig (3 different images). The cabinet cards measure 11 x 16.5 cm, with the albumen photographic images 10 x 13 cm. Some of the cards have a gilt stamp in the right margin "Cabinet - Portrait" with elaborate gilt border.
The shearing shed image has 50 shearers in front of it. There are three different aspects of the homestead - one taken from the river, with a skiff near the shore and the fenced house gardens to the right; another taken from a height looking toward the home, with the fenced kitchen gardens in the foreground, with ancillary buildings off to the right; the last image is taken from the road, a white picket fence between the viewer and the house, with a man holding a pony, with a child on it. All of the photographs have at least several people in them.
The photography business was owned by Eugene Fitzherbert Albini Fitzalan (1830-1911). He was born in Ireland, trained in horticulture, was a gardener in London, collected plants in Brazil and migrated to Melbourne in 1849. He established plant nurseries with varied success, but his nursery in Bowen, Queensland ran from 1862-1887, and Cairns, where he was the first curator of the Cairns Botanic Gardens from 1887-1897. He was appointed as collector to the Queensland Government's expedition on the Burdekin River & was a botanist who collected specimens in Queensland for Baron Ferdinand von Mueller. Many plant discoveries incorporate his name.
One has to conclude that the photographic business was not terribly successful, as there is only one record of a Fitzalan photograph that we have been able to locate in Australia. It is a small carte de visite held by the Art Gallery of NSW, picturing a man & his dog on a horse drawn carriage in the bush, captioned "Fitzalan, Photo. Coonamble." It is an albumen photograph with a simple red border with nothing printed on the verso. The Art Gallery accession number is 338.2014. As Coonamble is about a one hour drive northeast of Marthaguy, it indicates that Fitzalan's "resident photographer" was in the area and producing photographs. We have found no references to a Fitzalan photograph on Trove, which records holdings in all Australian reference libraries; at the National Gallery of Victoria or the National Gallery of Australia.
The National Herbarium of Victoria has transcribed an extensive number of Von Mueller's correspondence, and Fitzalan is recorded 39 times. He is mentioned in correspondence between 1860-1869; his first recorded direct correspondence is sent from "Willow Vale", Fitzalan's home in Bowen, Queensland, dated 20th April 1871. An extensive letter to Von Mueller dated March 6th, 1882 his attempt to secure Cycas seeds at Mount Elliott, but the aboriginals had burnt the area; discusses payment of 50 pounds for his work and then this - "Our resident photographer is at present in England perfecting himself in the business but will be back in May — when it will be possible to get Cycas views on reasonable terms —" So Fitzalan had started a photographic business, which included photographing botanical specimens.
Condition of the photographs is slightly faded but in very good condition overall. Two images of the house have lifted slightly on one corner from the backing.
An extraordinary collection recording the Haddon Rig stud, by a short-lived itinerant photographic studio owned by Eugene Fitzalan, an early botanist in Queensland. Item #28232