# 37108

Photographer unknown

[EUREKA REBELLION] Portrait of Peter Lalor, M.L.A.

$1,750.00 AUD

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[Title from printed caption beneath image]. Albumen print photograph, 90 x 60 mm, mounted on the recto of a leaf removed (by a previous owner!) from one of only 100 copies of W. B. Withers’ History of Ballarat which were extra-illustrated with mounted photographs; dimensions of leaf 212 x 132 mm; in fine condition.

A rare portrait photograph of Irish-Australian rebel and politician Peter Fintan Lalor (1827-1889). Lalor is regarded as the principal leader of the diggers in the Eureka Rebellion of December 1854, and his name is inextricably linked with the birth of democracy in Australia.

Lalor later had a lengthy career in politics, and at the time this portrait was taken around 1870 by an uncredited photographer, he was serving as Member of the Victoria Legislative Assembly for South Grant.

It is thought that only 100 copies of the first edition of Withers’ History of Ballarat, published in Ballarat in 1870, were extra-illustrated (Julien Renard commenting on the Bruce Evans copy, Leonard Joel, Melbourne, 1989); these copies were issued with four actual albumen print photographs mounted on separate sheets with printed captions that were bound into the standard issue, which had only lithographic illustrations. The four mounted photographs contained in the last extra-illustrated copy to be sold at auction (the Davidson copy, Australian Book Auctions, Melbourne, 2008, price realised AUD 7,573) were studio portraits of Lalor, Governor La Trobe and Governor Hotham, and a composite photograph of early Ballarat settlers. However, variations in the subjects of the four photographs are known. The ABA catalogue entry is also pertinent to the Lalor portrait we offer here, since it notes that ‘the Davidson copy has also a variant image of Peter Lalor, apparently not elsewhere recorded. This variant is a carte-de-visite size head and shoulder portrait taken in profile: the standard version is a carte-de-visite size full-face head and shoulder portrait.’ The catalogue continues: ‘The extra-illustrated Withers occurs rarely for sale and most copies are in worn and used condition’. We can infer from the last statement that the present mounted portrait photograph of Lalor would have been removed from a defective example.