Woman and child of New Caledonia
Allan Hughan of Noumea
A carte-de-visite portrait of a Kanak woman and small child, indigenous inhabitants of the (then) overseas French territory of New Caledonia.
Photographed by Allan Hughan of Noumea.
Born on 3 March 1837 at Colchester in Essex, Allan Ramsay Cunningham Hughan was the eighth child of Robert Alexander Hughan, a former teadealer from Kirkcudbright in Scotland, and his wife Hannah (née Oakley) from Ipswich. Robert died in 1844, aged only 47, leaving Hannah a widow with nine children to support. When one of her sons was transported in 1849, the rest of the family followed him to Australia. On 1 August 1858 Allan Hughan married Phoebe Berry Hall at Emerald Hill, Victoria. The marriage produced five children, of which two died in infancy.
Allan established himself as a trader in various commodities, mainly mother of pearl, but when he was shipwrecked at Yandee in New Caledonia in 1870, he abandoned his mercantile career and became a photographer in Noumea.
He established a studio in Rue Sebastopol and by 1871 he was advertising 'vues de Noumee et des environs' in the French newspaper Le Moniteur (7 June 1871). According to the website of the Royal Commonwealth Society Photography Collection at Cambridge University: ‘He was appointed Government Photographer after accompanying an expedition to inspect prison installations for Communards in November 1872. In 1872 he went to the Ile des Pins with the Governor and in early 1874 went on a photographic expedition to the interior of New Caledonia. He photographed Queen Hortense and her entourage and the mission station at Vao in August and September 1876.’
Allan Hughan died, aged only 46, at Noumea on 16 November 1883.
Condition: its tonal range could be a little punchier and it presents some spotting in the area of the foreground but the print is otherwise in fine condition. The mount presents a small amount of dirt verso and some very minor corner wear but is otherwise in good condition.