DUFTY, Francis Herbert (1846-1910) and DUFTY, Alfred
Photographic portrait of a Solomon Islander, taken in Levuka, Fiji, late 1870s.
Albumen print photograph, carte de visite format, 104 x 63 mm, verso imprinted ‘Photo. by Dufty Bros., Victorian Studio, Levuka, Fiji’, and contemporary inscription in ink: ‘Solomon Islander’; both the albumen print and mount are in fine condition.
A dramatic studio portrait of a Solomon Islands warrior posing with a wicker fighting shield and parrying club. He is wearing a clam and tortoise shell head ornament (kap-kap), two arm ornaments – one beaded and the other of clam shell – a nose ornament (clam shell?), a large tortoise shell ear ornament, and a necklace (dog’s teeth?).
Francis Herbert Dufty was an English-born photographer who arrived in Fiji in May 1871, having already spent a number of years as a photographer in the colony of Victoria with his other brother, Edward. In December 1871 he was joined in Fiji by his teenage brother Alfred. Over the following two decades, through studio and outdoor photography, the Dufty Brothers – with Francis as the principal photographer – documented the Fijian Islands’ indigenous peoples and their vanishing traditional way of life, and the islands’ rugged, tropical scenery. Under his own name, Francis Dufty also took studio portraits of indigenous visitors to Levuka, including people from the Solomon Islands, Samoa, and various Polynesian outliers.