Ca. late 1860s. Folio album (ca. 29x23,5 cm). 7 paper leaves of different colour. With four original watercolours ca. 14x22,5 cm (5 ½ x 8 ¾ in), one ink drawing ca. 10,5x15,5 cm (4x6 in), and two original albumen photos ca. 7x5,5 cm (2 ¾ x 2 in). The watercolours and the drawing are mounted within ink-drawn frames; all are captioned in ink either on the lower margins or/and on the mounts, all sepia watercolours signed “N.S.” in the left lower corners. The photos are mounted within blind-stamped floral decorative frames. Period style dark green half morocco album with cloth boards and gilt lettered title on the spine; all edges gilt. Overall a very good album.
Interesting historically significant album with early original watercolour- and ink-drawn views of Auckland, and British camps and a missionary station on the Waikato River in New Zealand’s North Island. The drawings most likely were produced by a British traveller not long after the British invasion of Waikato in 1863-1864, which displaced the Maori population from their traditional lands in the Waikato River basin and cleared them for the European settlement.
The first watercolour shows the entrance to Auckland harbour on the North Island, with a steamer and the settlement on the North Shore in the background. The three sepia watercolours depict the middle and upper Waikato River – the lands annexed by the colonial government in the course of the invasion of Waikato. The sepias show the British stockade at the Bluff (or Te Ia, at the confluence of the Mangatawhiri and Waikato Rivers, near modern-day Mercer), with three Maori figures looking at the waving British flag; the Anglican missionary station in Taupiri taken from the river (with the canoe in the front, and the Taupiri hills in the background); and the British military camp in Ngaruawhia (showing the confluence of the Waikato and Waipa Rivers, numerous tents and the post with waving British ensign). The ink drawing shows the first Admiralty House in Auckland built in 1864 for Commodore Sir William Wiseman (commander of RN Australian Squadron) on the western corner of Jermyn and Short Streets. The building was replaced with the new Admiralty House in 1902 which was demolished during a major reconstruction of Auckland traffic grid in 1915. The albumen photos are early portraits of sitting Maori women wearing traditional blankets.
Overall a very interesting album with rare early original views of Auckland and the Waikato River related to one of the biggest internal New Zealand conflicts of the 19th century.
A list of drawings:
1) North Shore, Auckland, New Zealand. Watercolour.
2) The Bluff, Waikato River, New Zealand. Sepia watercolour.
3) Taupiri (Mission Station), Waikato River, New Zealand. Sepia watercolour.
4) Ngaruawhia, Waikato River, New Zealand. Sepia watercolour.
5) Admiralty House, Auckland, New Zealand. Ink drawing.
6) [Two Maori women with babies]. Original albumen photo.
7) [Two elderly Maori women]. Original albumen photo.
Price: $4,500.00 USD
Status: On Hold