The Gold Diggers Portfolio Consisting of a Series of Sketches of the Victorian Gold Fields taken by Talented Artists on the spot. Thomas HAM, engraver and publisher.
The Gold Diggers Portfolio Consisting of a Series of Sketches of the Victorian Gold Fields taken by Talented Artists on the spot.
The Gold Diggers Portfolio Consisting of a Series of Sketches of the Victorian Gold Fields taken by Talented Artists on the spot.
The Gold Diggers Portfolio Consisting of a Series of Sketches of the Victorian Gold Fields taken by Talented Artists on the spot.
The Gold Diggers Portfolio Consisting of a Series of Sketches of the Victorian Gold Fields taken by Talented Artists on the spot.
The Gold Diggers Portfolio Consisting of a Series of Sketches of the Victorian Gold Fields taken by Talented Artists on the spot.

The Gold Diggers Portfolio…
The Gold Diggers Portfolio Consisting of a Series of Sketches of the Victorian Gold Fields taken by Talented Artists on the spot.

Melbourne: Cyrus Mason, "1854" [actually c.1859].

Small quarto, the fourteen lithograph plates in excellent condition with large margins, gathered together with a simple spine and loosely contained in a later leather portfolio binding, with an old typed listing of the plates, and with the original gold-on-white front titling wrapper (somewhat damaged) trimmed to margins and laid down on a blank leaf.

Complete copy of the Ham Portfolio

A classic illustrated work on the goldfields, combining images by several significant artists. As Wantrup notes, 'Most of these plates are unsigned but are the work of David Tulloch, William Strutt, George Strafford and Thomas Ham himself. A few years later Cyrus Mason, another Melbourne publisher of lithographs, issued the portfolio under the same title and date but with his own imprint and with the plates lithographed on thinner paper of slightly larger size. The images in the two editions are substantially the same, although some of the images were redrawn for the Mason edition. Mason apparently continued to issue the portfolio over a number of years since plates are known with the imprint of the succeeding firm of Stringer, Mason & Co.

A classic illustrated work on the goldfields, combining images by several significant artists. As Wantrup notes, 'Most of these plates are unsigned but are the work of David Tulloch, William Strutt, George Strafford and Thomas Ham himself. A few years later Cyrus Mason, another Melbourne publisher of lithographs, issued the portfolio under the same title and date but with his own imprint and with the plates lithographed on thinner paper of slightly larger size. The images in the two editions are substantially the same, although some of the images were redrawn for the Mason edition. Mason apparently continued to issue the portfolio over a number of years since plates are known with the imprint of the succeeding firm of Stringer, Mason & Co.
'Collectors should seek out a copy of this rare plate book in either edition... Because of the fragility of the work many incomplete or made-up copies exist and since Ferguson's description of the book is unusually shoddy these incomplete copies can trick an unwary collector -- indeed, even a dealer or two. A collector should ensure that the copy he is offered is complete with titling-wrapper and fourteen plates and that the imprint on his plates is consistent with the title imprint -- remembering that a copy may quite correctly include plates with either the imprint of Cyrus Mason or of Stringer, Mason & Co. If he is fortunate enough to find such a copy he... would be wise to do so. It is a fine work and an unusual record of the artistic activity of the period in Victoria, a period during which many able professional artists came to the colony in search of gold and left a permanent impression on the cultural life of the Australian colonies. William Strutt, whose work is included in Ham's Gold Diggers Portfolio, is just one of many considerable artists who flocked to the gold diggings, leaving behind them a heritage we still enjoy'.
This example is indeed a correct and complete copy of the Cyrus Mason issue of c. 1859, although the wrapper is dated 1854 as usual.

Provenance: Private collection (Sydney).

Ferguson, 10178 (1854 edition); Wantrup, 254b.

Price (AUD): $5,850.00  other currencies     Ref: #4504465

Condition Report