Royal Commonwealth Society : New Zealand Scenery c.1870

Royal Commonwealth Society

<p>A commercially produced portfolio containing signed, mounted prints, measuring approximately 240 x 185 mm, with brief descriptive captions pasted to the mounts. It seems likely that these prints form only a part of the complete portfolio: apart from the small number of prints, their geographical location and subject matter seem somewhat unbalanced - six of the views are from a relatively compact area of the eastern section of the North Island, with only one print from the South Island (Christchurch). The dating of the prints also raises problems of exactitude. The reference numbers on the captions range from 3 to 153, arguing a significant time-span in the taking of the pictures and also a large number of prints available in the series. These photographs could well be part of the series of 46 prints Mundy exhibited at the Colonial and Vienna Exhibition in Christchurch in 1872.</p> <p>Daniel Mundy was born, probably in 1826 or 1827, in Wiltshire, England. He was one of the finest of the pioneer photographers of New Zealand, making several important photographic expeditions into the interior of the country in the 1850s and '60s and photographing Maori life and the geological features of the country. It is not known exactly when he moved to New Zealand, but he made a photographic journey in the Southern Alps in 1858 and took over the photographic business of William Meluish in 1864; a studio in Prince's Street, Dunedin in 1864 claims the business was established in 1856. He photographed the construction of the Dunedin Exhibition buildings in 1864, exhibited photographs at New Zealand Industrial Exhibition under the business name of Mundy and La Mert, Photographers, Christchurch, photographed a collection of moa skeletons at Canterbury Museum for Sir Julius Haast and lectured to the Photographic Society, London in 1873. He died at Emerald Hill, Victoria, on 30 November 1881.</p>

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