Ca. 1880s. Oblong Quarto album (ca. 22x27,5 cm). 38 paper leaves (12 blank). With 25 mounted gelatin silver photographs ca. 19x23 cm (7 ¼ x 9 in). All but two photos signed “C.L.J.” in negative (several also numbered in negative). All but one photo with period ink captions in French, written on verso of the previous leaves. Period red cloth album with a gilt-lettered generic title “Album pour Collections” and a colour-stamped vignette on the front board. One photo with a minor tear on the upper right corner, but overall a very good album of rare vivid photos of Mauritius.
A historically significant collection of rare large early photos of Mauritius, apparently taken by one of the island’s first professional photographers. Thirteen lively views of Port Louis show the port, several major streets, Champ de Mars racecourse and the surrounding mountains. They contain a mine of details that deepen the knowledge of Port Louis 1880s’ urban topography - signs of local businesses and government institutions, railway tracks and telegraph wire lines, architectural details, street lamps, “the site the 1877 fire,” some street names, etc. The other twelve photos depict towns, villages and natural sites around the island – iconic and lesser-known (Mahebourg, Curepipe, Mouchoir Rouge Island, Trou d’Eau Douce and Souillac villages, bridges over Rivière du Poste and Rivière de la Chaux, etc.). All but one photo are accompanied by the compiler’s manuscript captions revealing his good knowledge of topography and history of Mauritius and Port Louis. Twenty-three photos have the photographer’s initials “C.L.J.” in negative, but his identity still needs to be discovered. Overall a unique collection of early high-quality views of Mauritius, produced by an experienced local photographer.
List of photos:
1) Rue du Rempart, Port Louis (“magasin E. Chauvin”, crossing with the La Chaussee street, le Pouce mountain);
2) La Chaussee street, Port Louis (“Au Globe Chapellerie,” les Jardins de la Compagnie, “the site of the 1877 fire,” office of Goudin & Coutanceau, Spanish consulate, Signal mountain with telegraph wires);
3) Arcenal street (“Au Glaneur,” “Morin Freres & Cie”);
4) Port Louis quay (Oriental Hotel, railway tracks leading to the Central Station, Ferme du Rhum, Signal mountain).
5) The crossing of the modern-day Trunk Road and Church Street (Central Post office with the rail tracks in front, “Ship Chandler” building, police station, entrance to the customs office);
6) Port Louis quays (railway tracks and cars, a port crane, grain and rice warehouse, “Venus” schooner of Messieurs Nicole & Blanc from the Reunion, the four-roofed building of Blyth Brothers);
7) Port Louis harbour (grain warehouse, Blyth Brothers’ building, the building of the harbour police, Mauritius Dock, La Pouce, Signal and Long mountains);
8) Port Louis harbour looking from the sea (building of “Devienne Richer & Cie,” Oriental Hotel, the main square with the statue of Mahe de Labourdannais, grain warehouse, a corner of the customs warehouse, Long mountain and citadel);
9) Entrance to the Albion Dock (railway bridge, docks, ships and the cemetery);
10) Lienard obelisque in the Pamplemousses botanical garden;
11) Trou d’Eau Douce village and Bay in the Flacq district;
12) Champ de Mars racecourse “on the third day of the races;”
13) Champ de Mars racecourse, “premiere joue des Couses de Lundi” (the stands and spectators, the obelisque of the Malartic tomb);
14) Mouchoir Rouge Island near Mahebourg;
15) The coast of the Savanne district taken from the sea;
16) Forest and gorge of the Grand River South East;
17) The Seven Waterfalls near Vacoas;
18) Souillac village taken from the sea;
19) Calville bridge over the Rivière du Poste;
20) “Another view of Souillac and the port” (featuring the system of wires to transport sacks of sugar and other merchandise to the isolated part of the Savannah district);
21) The town of Curepipe (church and priest’s house, ecole des Soeurs and ecole des Frères);
22) Bridge over the Rivière de la Chaux in Mahebourg;
23) Les Trois Mamelles mountain near Vacoas;
24) Railway bridge over the Rivière du Poste;
25) Port Louis, the beginning of Place d’Armes (side of the Oriental Hotel, the monument to Made de Labourdonnais, a side-street).
Price: $6,500.00 USD