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Images from Tahiti, 1870-1895

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Images from Tahiti

Scope and Content of Collection

The collection of 19 albumen photographs taken by Charles Georges Spitz and Sophia Hoare depicts people and events as well as everyday life in Tahiti during the last three decades of the 19th century. Portraits of the Tahitian royal family include a photomontage of family members by Hoare, and portraits of Tamatao and Terutapunui, the brothers of Pōmare V, King of Tahiti. Four photographs depict the funeral of Pōmare V in June 1891: two show the king lying in state, and two show the exterior of the royal palace draped in mourning, one with the funeral carriage leaving the palace. These photographs are accompanied by a photocopy of a note written by Pōmare to Papeete's police commissioner in 1891 (original note in Tahitian and a French translation), requesting help in finding a lost dog.

Other portraits include one of Admiral Marc de St. Hilaire, commander of the Duquesne and a group portrait of M. Chessé and the chiefs of Tahiti and Mooréa, taken by Hoare at the time of France's annexation of Tahiti in 1880.

Images of Tahiti and Tahitians include a schooner wrecked on the reefs of Papeete; views of the town of Papeete; the lighthouse at Venus Point; groups of Tahitians posed in front of their homes; and a studio portrait of four young Tahitian men and women.

Eleven photographs are annotated in French, in two distinct hands; four of these have Spitz's wet stamp in red ink on the verso: Photographie instantanée G. Spitz, Papeete, Tahiti. Eight prints are from a disbound album from the repository's Joseph Armstrong Baird collection of nineteenth century architectural photographs (accession no. 88.R.8) and are annotated in English in Baird's hand. All of the prints are mounted.


Arranged in a single series: .
Series I: Images from Tahiti, 1870-1895

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