Paul Frecker
Fine Photographs


Prison haircuts in New Caledonia, c. 1880

An albumen print showing two prisoners receiving haircuts in the courtyard of a prison in New Caledonia, while more prisoners wait in line against the wall.

A survey of 1888 indicated that on 1 May that year there were 10,428 convicts on the island, including 2329 who had served their sentence and been freed. Those imprisoned included many Communards, convicted for their part in the Paris Commune of 1871, among them Henri de Rochefort and Louise Michel.

The reverse of the album page shows a similarly sized photograph showing a group of some twenty Kanaks in the forest within a vignette (scan available on request).

Photographer unidentified, but possibly by Allan Hughan (1834-1883), a ship’s captain who, after being shipwrecked, established a studio in Noumea in 1871.

Condition: the print is in excellent condition, with very good tonal range. The album page has warped very slightly in its upper and lower margins and presents a small amount of light foxing.

Dimensions: the print measures 7” by 8.1” (17.8 cm by 20.7 cm); it is mounted on an album page measuring 9.4” by 11.5” (23.9 cm by 29.2 cm).


price:  £275
code: cat021
New Caledonia, Nouvelle Caledonie, penal settlement, penal system, prison, prisons, prisoner, prisoners, Noumea