HUGHAN, Allan (1834-1883) (attributed)
Photographic portrait of two young Kanak women in traditional dress, New Caledonia, late 1870s
Albumen print photograph, carte de visite format, 105 x 65 mm (mount); the print with some light foxing, the mount fine.
This photograph of two unidentified young Kanak women was taken in the Noumea studio of Allan Hughan between 1875 and 1880. This attribution is based on the distinctive backdrop, which appears in other portraits taken in Hughan’s studio.
Allan Hughan was a British merchant and ship’s captain who had been shipwrecked in New Caledonia in 1870. By 1871 he had started a commercial photography business in Nouméa, and the following year he was appointed government photographer. In addition to studio portraits his work included views of Nouméa and the interior of the island, documentation of the traditional way of life and customs of the Kanak people, and an official photographic study of the French penal colony on the Isle of Pines.