16 December 2007

The big question

The big question that has yet to be answered is . . . "was Henry Keyse a photographer?". I have credited Henry Keyse (HGK) as the photographer of a series of Pitcairn photographs that were published as postcards and used in the 1920s and 1930s by passengers on the New Zealand Shipping Company (NZSC) vessels.

There is a strong case that the photographer of these Pitcairn views was in fact David James Aldersley, a professional photographer from New Zealand.

There are three possibilities:

(1) Henry Keyse (HGK), while working as a barber on board the vessels of the NZSC, visited the island and took photographs of the islanders which he sold to passengers as postcards. I have evidence that HGK was on board several NZSC vessels. I also have evidence that a barber (name not known) visited Pitcairn and took some photographs of the islanders at about the right time period. I have evidence that a barber (name not known) of the NZSC undertook to process passengers' photographs.

(2) David Aldersley visited Pitcairn and took the photographs. He then printed them on postcard paper and allowed HGK to sell them to passengers with the inscription "Copyright HGK" included in the caption. I have not yet seen David Aldersley on passenger lists of the NZSC. David Aldersley was a well-known and accomplished photographer whose wonderful pictures of New Zealand views are sought after by collectors through eBay. The handwriting on David Aldersley's photographs is identical to the handriting on the Henry Keyse photographs.

(3) Henry Keyse took the photographs and David Aldersley printed them up at his New Zealand studio for HGK to sell on board ship as postcards.

I would be very grateful if anyone with more information would contact me.

23 July 2007

Progress Update

I can't believe it is so long since I posted an update on this blog. The catalogue is a much larger job than I imagined when I began all the scanning. It could well end up at about 100 pages. I am working on it in most of my spare time now after finishing the first full colour edition of the "UK Log" (magazine of the Pitcairn Islands Study Group, UK). The catalogue WILL be printed as soon as possible . . . I hope later this year, but if not, then early in 2008. I know I have been talking it up for many years now, but finally I am getting quite excited about it. It is finally appearing on the computer in front of me: revised descriptions, new improved catalogue numbers (with the old ones retained too for cross reference), and colour scans of all cards that I can lay my hands on - both fronts, backs, errors and varieties.

I'm also working on producing a new set of Pitcairn postcards showing maps of the island. More details soon.