Pearls and Savages. Adventures in the Air, on Land and Sea in New Guinea
New York, G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1924.
Quarto (270 x 198 mm), xiv, 414 pages with 81 plates and a map plus the frontispiece and pictorial endpapers (with all illustrations from photographs by Hurley).
Olive-green cloth lettered in gilt in a decorative font on the front cover and spine; top edge gilt; cloth lightly rubbed at the extremities and a little scuffed at the rear; minimal expert consolidation to the front inner hinge; light creases to the bottom margin of a plate and two adjacent leaves (they were loose at some stage but have now been stabilized); a very good copy.
Inscribed on the recto of the frontispiece 'To Mr L.H. Howie, With a student's appreciation and gratitude ... M. Bradley 11.12.1924'. The recipient was Laurence Hotham Howie (1876-1963), artist and teacher; he was principal of the Adelaide School of Arts and Crafts from 1920 to 1941. He enlisted in the AIF in August 1915, embarked in January 1916, and was on active service 'in North Africa and the Western Front until December 1918. He continued painting and sketching and was appointed an official war artist after hostilities ended. He worked with the AIF War Records Section in London under the sculptor C. Web Gilbert and in 1919 returned to France to make studies which were later used to construct dioramas at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra' (Australian Dictionary of Biography). James Francis (Frank) Hurley (1885-1962), adventurer, photographer and film maker, is perhaps best remembered for his Antarctic photographs from his expeditions under Mawson and Shackleton between 1911 and 1917. In an interesting parallel with Howie's life, in August 1917 Hurley 'joined the Australian Imperial Force as official photographer with the rank of honorary captain. Shocked by the carnage in France and Belgium ... He ran great risks to film exploding shells and clashed with Charles Bean, the official historian, over his desire to merge several negatives into one impressive picture: to Bean such composite pictures were 'little short of fake'. Disgusted with army administration and irked by censorship, Hurley resigned, but was sent to the Middle East, smuggling out some coloured photographs'. His adventures, and controversies, continued apace after the war. 'Between December 1920 and January 1923 Hurley made two long and well-publicized filming expeditions to the Torres Strait Islands and to Papua, and attracted further attention by shipping two small planes to Port Moresby and flying them along the coast. Again, the Papuan films (especially 'Pearls and Savages' released in December 1921) were major commercial successes. He followed them up with a book of traveller's tales and photographs, also called 'Pearls and Savages', as he was to do with several other of his films. However, he clashed bitterly with (Sir) Hubert Murray and the Papuan administration over allegedly bad publicity that he was giving to the Territory through his sensational stories of head-hunters and unexplored jungle wilds, and more seriously over allegedly improper methods used to gather a large collection of artefacts for the Australian Museum, Sydney. In 1925 Hurley was refused entrance to Papua to make a fiction film' (ADB).