DUFTY, Edward Henry (1850-1905); DUFTY, Walter Frederick (1854-1919)
Portrait of Gomenna, holding a gourd jar, New Caledonia, circa 1875
Albumen print photograph, carte de visite format, 105 x 65 mm (mount); the albumen print is in very good condition with excellent tonal range, a couple of tiny spots of foxing; the mount is fine.
Although this photograph is not inscribed, the title and attribution are derived from the inscriptions on a photograph with the same subject, held in the National Library of Australia. The NLA photograph has a typed label to verso of the mount, reading ‘Photographed by W. & E. Dufty, South Sea Islands’, and is inscribed in ink verso ‘Gomenna New Caledonian girl’. The photograph offered here differs slightly from the NLA copy, in that the girl pictured is holding a sprig of a flowering plant in her left hand, as well as the gourd jar in her right.
Born in England and each migrating to Australia during the mid nineteenth century, the four Dufty brothers were to make a substantial contribution to the photographic record of indigenous peoples of Fiji and New Caledonia. Edward Henry Dufty (1850-1905) arrived in Melbourne in 1865. Along with his brother Walter, who came to Australia in 1871, Edward settled in New Caledonia in the early 1870s, where the pair set up a portrait studio. Their brothers Frank and Alfred established themselves in Fiji from 1871. At their studio in Noumea, Edward and Walter devoted much attention to photographing the indigenous Kanak people of New Caledonia. After 1875, when Walter left New Caledonia for Norfolk Island, Edward continued to run the Noumea studio by himself; the studio imprint on portraits from the late 1870s bears his name alone.