South Africa, Gold Mining
J. & M.LAZARUS, and others (photographers). An album of 100 gelatin silver prints, South Africa, [circa 1900]. Oblong Atlas 4to (29.5 x 44cm.) 25 card leaves with 100 photographs, some titled and/or signed or initialled in the negative by J.Lazarus or Caney, 15.2 x 20.3cm. approximately, mounted two-to-a-page recto and verso of the card leaves, extra-illustrated with a single inserted larger format print (21.7 x 27.2cm.) of a European armed with gun guarding 24 gold bars. (Some light fading or soiling, most mounts spotted at margins.)
A fine collection of photographs recalling the pioneering era of South Africa's gold mines. The album records the development of the Barberton area in the Transvaal, and in particular the De Kaap (Barberton) Gold-field following the discovery of gold in the De Kaap valley in 1875. The town of Barberton, founded in 1886, is 175 miles due east of Pretoria and owed its existence to the mines. A 35-mile branch line which joined the Pretoria-Loureno Marques trunk railway at Kaapmuiden was the main method of communication with the outside world at the time the album was compiled. The photographs include 14 of the Sheba Mine in the valley of the same name, and four other individual photographs of the Zwartkopies; Fortuna; Woodbine and Ivy mines.The album also includes 50 topographical photographs of Barberton, Waterval-Boven, the river(?)Kaap, the railway and the surrounding countryside. The second half of the album is made up of 32 ethnographical portraits and posed tableaux featuring members of the local tribes, including the Swazi and the Mapoch. The additional large format print, apart from probably featuring the unidentified individual for whom the album was compiled, is also inscribed with a note about the output of the Sheba Mine in March 1896 with a note that the value of the 24 gold bars displayed was 49,464.