Kingston: A. Duperly (Printed: Paris, Thierry Brothers), . Very rare complete set of views based on the earliest photographs of Jamaica. The second complete copy to come on the market in modern times. In contemporary half cloth, panels covered with marbled papers. Marbled endpapers, tinted edges. Printed on two different kinds of paper, thus some plates are tanned (1–5, 13, 17–24), the rest remained wither. Folio (ca. 435 × 295 mm), 24 tinted lithographed plates [by Louis Julien Jacottet (no.: 1, 2, 11–2, 16–8, 21–2), Phillippe Benoist (no.: 3, 4, 7, 9, 10, 14–5, 23–4). Condition of the plates: heavy foxing at the edges, barely affecting the image (1, 2); some brown spotting at the edges (3); light water stain at inner margin, no effect to the image (4–6 [6 with a few tiny spots to the image]); clusters of light foxing, some tiny spots (7, 18–21, 23–4); clusters of light foxing (8–17, 22). Old collection stamp on the verso of pl. 19. at the inner margin. Generally, the images are clean and apart from the discoloration which mainly affects only the margins, are in fine condition. Binding slightly rubbed at the extremities, otherwise in fine condition.
Duperly’s Daguerian Excursions is the rarest nineteenth-century views of Jamaica, “one of the earliest cycles of its kind to be produced in the New World, the old hand-drawn techniques join forces with the new daguerreotype technology”. (Boxer, 2018) Besides the architectural images and landscapes, this unique collection of pictures contains important depictions of the post-Emancipation African-American population of the island.
The French artist Adolph Duperly (1801–1865), after teaching the technique of lithography at the Lycée National of Haiti, moved to Jamaica around 1824. Soon he became an established engraver, lithographer, and printer of the island, and in 1841 he opened the first daguerreotype studio in Kingstone (Thompson, 2011), which became the most successful photographic studio in Jamaica. Duperly made an extensive series of landscape photographs, and these images — the earliest known photographic views of Jamaica — formed the basis of the present album, providing a vivid image of the new and vibrant post-Emancipation Jamaica. The lithographic work was delegated to a group of expert French printmakers: Louis Julien Jacottet (1806–1880), Philippe Benoist (1813–1881), Georges (Georg) Müller (1831–?) and Charles Claude Bachelier (1832–1885). Originally projected to comprise 48 views, but eventually, only twenty-four plates were published in four parts, with a wrapper title. This copy is complete with all the plates, though without the wrapper title as the other recently appeared one.
The 24 plates are grouped by the headers of Kingston Jamaica (1–9), Jamaica Island (10–16), and Jamaica (17–24): 1. A View of the Ordnance Yard (taken from the Wharf.) 2. A View of the Court-House (taken on the day of an Election) 3. A View of King Street. 4. A View of Coke Chapel (taken from the Parade) 5. A View of the Kingston Theatre (taken from the Parade). 6. A View of the Kingston Barracks 7. A View of Church Street (looking towards the sea) 8. A View of the Ordnance Yard. (taken from Port Royal Street). 9) A View of the Kingston Church 10. Market Falmouth. 11. King’ House. (Spanish Town.) 12. Court House. Bath. (St. Thomas in the East). 13. Lindo Store. (Parish of St. Ann). 14. Cornwall’ Street (Falmouth) 15. Holland Estate. (St. Thomas in the East.) 16. The Ferry Jnn. [sic] (Spanish Town Road). 17. Moneague Tavern, Parish of St. Ann. 18. Cascade of White River, near Ocho Rios in St. Ann’s. 19. Falmouth Taken from the Church Tower 20. Golden Grove Estate. St. Thomas in the East. 21. Methodist Chapel. Bath. St. Thomas in the East. 22. Montego Bay. St. James. (taken from the Falmouth Entrance.) 23. Market Street. (Falmouth). 24. Montngo-Bay. [sic] (taken from the Residence of Mrs. Melhado).
Exceedingly scarce, WorldCat lists four copies worldwide (2 copies in the British Library; Buffalo and Erie County Public Library; University of Miami).
Ref.: Cundall, Bibliographia Jamaicensis 303; Not in Abbey
Literature: Boxer, D.: The Duperly Family and Photography in Victorian Jamaica. In: Barringer, T. J., and Wayne Modest. Victorian Jamaica. Durham: Duke University Press, 2018. pp. 322–356.; Thompson, K. (2011). The Evidence of Things Not Photographed: Slavery and Historical Memory in the British West Indies. Representations, 113(1), 39–71. https://doi.org/10.1525/rep.2011.113.1.39.