REILLY, Dianne & Jennifer CAREW
Sun Pictures of Victoria : The Fauchery-Daintree Collection 1858. (Presentation copy)
Melbourne : Library Council of Victoria, 1983. First edition. Quarto (295 x 260 mm), publisher’s gilt-lettered black cloth over boards, in pictorial dust jacket (lightly rubbed), pp 143, with 53 full-page photographic plates, introductory essay, notes and references; presentation inscription by one of the authors, Jenny Carew, on the half title; a very good copy.
The French photographer and writer Antoine Fauchery (1823-1861) arrived in Australia in 1852 and spent the next several years prospecting on the Victorian goldfields – where he achieved limited success – and running a cafe in Melbourne. His account of life on the goldfields, Lettres d’un mineur en Australie, was published in Paris in 1857.
The English geological surveyor and photographer Richard Daintree (1832-1878) arrived on the Victorian goldfields in 1853, but like Fauchery he also failed to strike it lucky, and quickly took up a position as geologist with the Government Mineralogical Survey under Alfred Selwyn. He returned to England in the mid-1850s to further his training, but by early 1858 he was back in Melbourne.
It was at this point that Daintree met Antoine Fauchery. The two shared similar interests and both were proficient in the new field of photography. They went into business together to publish a series of their own photographs of the colony of Victoria. This series of fifty large format photographs, created using the new collodion wet-plate process, was titled Sun Pictures of Victoria, and was released in ten monthly installments from mid-1858.
Sun Pictures unquestionably constitutes the most important photographic record of the colony prior to 1860, in terms of the quality of the prints and the range of subject matter. It contains scenes of life on the goldfields, views of the booming city Melbourne, highly significant portraits of Aborigines and of prominent colonizers such as Sir Henry Barkly, Bishop Perry, Edouard Adet and Sir John O’Shanassy.