# 34936


Studio portrait of an Aboriginal woman wearing a kangaroo skin cloak, carrying her young child on her back. Adelaide, 1869-75.

$400.00 AUD

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Albumen print photograph, carte de visite format, 85 x 56 mm; unmounted; a strong print with excellent clarity, in very good condition.

Another example of this carte de visite, on a mount bearing the imprint of Otto Von Hartitzsch & Co., 113 Rundle Street, Adelaide, was sold at Charles Leski Auctions (Melbourne) in September 2010. According to Davies & Stanbury (The Mechanical Eye in Australia), von Hartitzsch was active at this address between 1869 and 1875, meaning that this portrait of a young Aboriginal woman wearing a kangaroo skin cloak and carrying her infant almost certainly predates the very similar (but much better known) image, taken at Point McLeay around 1875 by Captain Samuel White Sweet, of Ngarrindjeri woman Teenminnie, wife of Pelican. However, we have also sighted yet another example of this carte de visite with the back mark of Saul Solomon, Adelaide.

An interesting detail in this portrait is the tripod base of the metal posing or support stand, which can be seen immediately behind the woman’s bare feet. This type of stand was a common feature in nineteenth-century photographic studios; it was used as an aid in keeping the subject upright and still for the duration of the exposure – which in this case was probably several seconds.

Comparison with other portraits taken by von Hartitzsch in this period suggests the possibility that this photograph was taken in a makeshift travelling studio, in a location other than Adelaide.