Ca. 1897-1903. Album 1: Oblong Folio (ca. 24x34,5 cm or 9 ½ x 13 ½ in). 25 card stock leaves. With 199 mounted gelatin silver photos, all ca. 8x11 cm (3 ¼ x 4 ¼ in). All photos with the compiler’s period ink captions and numbers on the mounts; many images are also dated from December 1897 to March 1899. Period pencil inscription “No. 1” on the front free endpaper. Period brown quarter sheep album with cloth boards, fastened with metal bolts. Binding rubbed on extremities, the upper board partly discoloured, mounts slightly waved, a few photos mildly faded, but overall a very good album.
Album 2: Oblong Quarto (ca. 19x30 cm or 7 ½ x 11 ¾ in). 50 card stock leaves (with period ink numbers in the upper right corners on the rectos). With 145 gelatin silver photos (144 mounted, one loosely inserted), including 57 larger ones, ca. 11,6x16,5 cm (4 ½ x 6 ½ in); the rest are ca. 8,5x11 cm (3 ¼ x 4 ¼ in). Most photos with the compiler’s period ink captions on the mounts; many images are also numbered or dated from June 1899 to April 1901. Period pencil inscription “No. 2” on the front free endpaper. Period green quarter sheep album with cloth boards, fastened with metal bolts. Binding rubbed on extremities, mounts slightly waved and with mild foxing, a few photos mildly faded, but overall a very good album.
Album 3: Oblong Folio (ca. 25x32,5 cm or 9 ¾ x 12 ¾ in). 25 card stock leaves. With 134 mounted gelatin silver photos, including 22 larger ones ca. 17x21 cm (6 ¾ x 8 ¼ in); the rest are ca. 8,5x11 cm (3 ¼ x 4 ¼ in). All photos with the compiler’s period ink captions on the mounts; many images are also numbered or dated from February to October 1899. Period red full cloth album; marbled endpapers. Mounts slightly soiled and waved, a few photos mildly faded, but overall a very good album.
Album 4: Oblong Folio (ca. 25,5x36 cm or 10 x 14 ¼ in). 50 card stock leaves. With 362 mounted gelatin silver photos, including ten larger ones ca. 16,5x22,5 cm (6 ½ x 9 in) and twelve images ca. 11,5x17 cm (4 ½ x 6 ½ in); the rest of the photos are from ca. 8x11 cm (3 ¼ x 4 ¼ in) to ca. 7x8 cm (2 ¾ x 3 in). Most photos with the compiler’s period ink captions on the mounts; many images are also numbered or dated from July 1898 to May 1903. Period red half morocco album with cloth boards; spine with raised bands; moire endpapers. Binding rubbed on extremities, discoloration of the boards, mounts slightly soiled and waved, a few photos mildly faded, but overall a very good album.
Historically significant extensive collection of thoroughly annotated original gelatin silver photographs of diamond mining operations near Diamantina (Minas Gerais state of Brazil) in the late 1890s – early 1900s. The albums were compiled by one Emile Kablé, a native of Sedan (north-eastern France), who worked for the French mining “Companhia da Boa Vista” near Diamantina. Chronologically, the albums cover Kablé’s work in Brazil between December 1897 and May 1901. He left Bahia for France on June 9, 1901, and apparently didn’t come back.
“The French company, Companhia da Boa Vista is considered the first attempt to use modern methods to mine diamonds in Brazil. The Boa Vista Co. was established in Paris in 1899, capitalized at 2 million francs then to engage in diamond mining claims it had acquired about eight miles from Diamantina. The operation was directed by the Cuban-American engineer, Antonio de Lavendeyra with prior experience working on the Panama Canal. The French firm built a water reservoir on a conglomerate-bearing plateau from which it piped water needed for washing. It installed a power station whose dynamo was operated by a 500 horsepower Pelton wheel and electrical machinery was imported from the General Electric Co. (NY). Though it used modern electric dredging equipment, it failed as the price of diamonds was too low and the system of utilizing water pumped from the stream was unsound. Companhia da Boa Vista left the region prior to 1907” (Herold, Marc W., Rines, S. A half-century monopoly (1880-1930s): the black diamonds (carbonados) of Bahia and Jewish merchants// Revista Ciêncitas Administrativas. Universidade de Fortaleza, 2011, Vol. 17, No. 1. P. 30; https://www.redalyc.org/pdf/4756/475647552001.pdf).
“The first company to operate in this field was organized in France to exploit the Boa Vista mine but its program proved to be too ambitious and its transportation problem too expensive. It tried to divert the Jequitinhonha through a loop of the letter S at Logea Secca, but did not succeed in making the canal deep enough. At Boa Vista it installed a pump weighing many tons from which the writer subsequently sold nearly Cr. 20,000.00 worth of scrap, including bronze fittings, at a price when scrap was hardly worth anything. It attempted to exploit the Pacao Moreira which is one of the most difficult of its kind in the Jequitinhonha. Its operations on the Parauna river were also a failure” (Draper, T. The diamond mines of Diamantina – past and present// Gems & Gemology. Vol. VII. Fall 1951. No. 3. p. 97; https://www.gia.edu/doc/fall_1951.pdf).
The albums provide a comprehensive visual account of “Companhia da Boa Vista’s” operations near Diamantina in 1897-1901. The photos of the works at Lagoa Secca (north of the confluence of the Jequitinhonha River and its tributary Caete-Mirim) include a series of images showing excavations of a canal to divert the water of the Jequitinhonha River in 1898 (“Grande Cata,” “Pan de Fruta Cata,” &c.), special equipment (boilers, pulsometers, water sluices, mine carts), houses of the employees (including the compiler’s), native workers washing paydirt for diamonds, “my garden at Lagoa Secca,” several scenes of a wedding, &c.
The majority of photos document the company’s large-scale operations at Boa Vista (near the Bom Successo stream west of Diamantina), including excavation works at Bom Successo (barrage after the rupture and during the reconstruction, completed water reservoir and pump station, general view of the settlement, installation of the Worthington pump), Pindahybas (“usine de lavage”/washing plant, mine carts and rails, water sluices, wheels, special structures and equipment, construction of a barrage) and Tahoa. The other photos show the Boa Vista settlement in general, the main office under construction and after completion, houses of the employees (exterior and several images of the interior, including of Kablé’s house), “Maison Brandao,” warehouses, carpenters’ hangar, a line of electric posts, construction and interior of the washing plant, &c.
A series of excellent larger and smaller images of the company’s electric plant at Santa Maria shows its exterior and interior (Pelton wheel, dynamo generator, operation board), pipe system, water exiting the station, &c. Several images show the company’s bridges over the Jequitinhonha River. There are also two photos of the maps of the company’s properties at Boa Vista and Lagoa Secca. A group of photos dated April 1901, shows Parauna River and the works of “Compagnie Diamantina” (transportation of materials, barrage under construction, electric plant).
Numerous photos portray the company’s employees, including Kablé, general manager “Mr. de Lavandeyra” visiting Lagoa Secca and Boa Vista, “Mr. Perrey, ingénieur électricien,” “Mr. Mitchell,” “Almeida,” “Cerutti,” “Mr. Belhout,” “Fred. Lobstein,” “Mr. Morelon,” “Gossner,” and many others. There are also portraits of native workers washing paydirt, driving oxen carts with equipment, carrying adobe bricks, waiting for payment, posing with their families, &c.
The albums also include interesting views of Diamantina (general views of the “upper” and “lower” parts, post office, city jail, market square, church of St. Antonio, the shop of “Antonio Eulalio & Comp.”) and other locations in the region - Sete Lagoas (railway station, the building of “Juvencio Silva & Cie,” “un rancho de copeiros,” two scenes of equestrian competitions), Sopa (a group of surveyors posing with equipment), Mendanha (general view, the bridge, main square), Agua Limpa, Campinas de Saõ Sebastiaõ, Monbuco, Guinda, Itambe, &c. Seven photos show nuns and orphan girls from the Catholic College de Nossa Senhora das Dores in Diamantina. Four lively scenes depict “Fête de Sta Cruz” with native Brazilians in traditional costumes.
The first album also includes over twenty photos, illustrating Kablé’s visit to Rio de Janeiro in September 1898 and showing Tijuca waterfall, Hotel Villa Moreau in Tijuca, street views (“Rua Carioca,” “Rue de 1er de Mars”), “maison Sr. Coelho,” Imperial garden, “Place de Boa Vista,” eight scenes of a military parade on the Independence Day (September 7, 1898), Botafogo Bay, city harbour, Sugarloaf Mountain, Naval school, &c.
The fourth album with over 360 photos contains about 76 images of diamond mining activities (mostly, at Boa Vista). The other photos illustrate Kablé’s voyages to Europe. Over 130 images were taken during his trip to France in May – October 1900 and include a series of views of Rio de Janeiro (city streets, harbour), scenes on board the steamer “Chili” during the outbound voyage in May 1900, views of Dakar harbour, Lisbon, Spanish and French coast, Kablé’s home town Sedan, nearby Bazeilles and Belgian city of Bouillon, seaside resorts Middelkerke and Ostend (Belgium), numerous portraits of family and friends, and photos taken during the return trip to Brazil in October 1900 on board the “La Plata” steamer (scenes on board with the travel companions, views of Vigo (Spain), Lisbon, Gorée Island (Senegal), harbours of Pernambuco and Rio de Janeiro).
Over 140 photographs, mostly at the rear, illustrate Kablé’s return voyage to France in June 1901 and his life up to May 1903. The images include ten views of Bahia (port and quays, Camara Municipal, Hotel de Paris, presidential palace, etc.), several French cities (Vire, Laval, Wissembourg, Munster, Strasbourg, Sedan, Orival, Elbeuf, Louviers, Rouen, &c.), family real estate, numerous portraits of family and friends, including Kablé’s wife Berthe and daughter Madelaine, &c.
Overall an important extensive original visual source on the early history of diamond mining in Brazil.
Price: $17,500.00 USD
Status: On Hold