Item #5000655 Photographs of New South Wales. Charles POTTER.
Photographs of New South Wales.
Photographs of New South Wales.
Photographs of New South Wales.
Photographs of New South Wales.

Photographs of New South Wales.

N.S.W.Government Printing Press: circa 1893.

Oblong folio, 207 mounted photographs in splendid substantial original album of dark blue morocco, ornately gilt.

Sydney, hub of British Empire

Under the direction of the Government Printer, Charles Potter, this rare, massive and sumptuous album of early Sydney was produced at the artistic pinnacle of government printing and binding. It contains 80 photographs of early colonial history, including colonial art, 100 photographs of New South Wales, and 27 photographs from drawings by John Rae. The album showcases New South Wales as a hub of the British Empire and documents Sydney in wonderful style as a beautiful and thriving metropolis.

Under the direction of the Government Printer, Charles Potter, this rare, massive and sumptuous album of early Sydney was produced at the artistic pinnacle of government printing and binding. It contains 80 photographs of early colonial history, including colonial art, 100 photographs of New South Wales, and 27 photographs from drawings by John Rae. The album showcases New South Wales as a hub of the British Empire and documents Sydney in wonderful style as a beautiful and thriving metropolis.

The photographs capture the harbour and waterways as thoroughfares for industry, and feature impressive architectural and municipal views, together with striking topographical views of the Nepean River and the Blue Mountains and further afield.

A series of 27 photographs showcases the work of John Rae (1813-1900), a talented amateur artist actively involved in the use of photography. As early as 1855 he gave two lectures on the subject at the Sydney School of Arts. Several of Rae's early drawings are thought to have been done with the aid of photography, an interest he shared with his friend John Skinner Prout. The Sydney Morning Herald mentions in September 1855 that Rae had recently built a camera obscura on the roof of his house "Hilton" in Darlinghurst. In 1900 the Bulletin praised his keen artistic perception and considered his collection of views of Sydney as one of the best extant. His sketches were sent to the Calcutta Exhibition in 1883 and to the Centennial International Exhibition in 1888 and gained much favourable comment.

Julia Peck has summarised the history of the Government Printing Office in the Encyclopedia of Nineteenth-Century Photography (2007):

'The New South Wales Government Printer (NSWGP), a public works department in Sydney, was established in 1859 as an extension of the postage stamp department. The first Government Printer, Mr. Thomas Richards, established the "Photolithographic and Lithographic" department in 1868 and the "Photomechanical" department in 1877. Richards' intention for the photographs was the depiction of natural features and the material progress of the colony; the distribution of the photographs was promotional.

'Photographs were sent to international exhibitions, including the Centennial International Exhibition, Melbourne, 1888, when the department sent 178 photographs. The main form of presentation, however, was in album format, produced internally by the Printer's binding department. The quality, style and size of the albums were remarkable and produced as gifts for official visitors… Photographs were purchased and commissioned from commercial operators including Henry King, Charles Bayliss and Charles Kerry'.

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Condition Report: Some slight foxing on a few sheets; the binding, and all photographs throughout, are in very good condition.

Price (AUD): $9,000.00

US$5,802.02   Other currencies

Ref: #5000655

Condition Report