DUFTY, Francis Herbert (1846-1910) (attributed)
Photographic portrait of two Fijian kai colo (mountaineers), circa 1875.
Albumen print photograph, carte de visite format, 106 x 62 mm, verso with contemporary inscription in pencil: ‘Fiji Mountaineers’; no photographer’s imprint; both the albumen print and mount are in very good condition.
A superb studio portrait, attributable to Francis Herbert Dufty, of two kai colo from the mountainous interior of Viti Levu, wearing ulumate (wigs of human or horse hair). The man on the right, seated on a chair, is a chief, and the man cross-legged on the floor his attendant.
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.