An original gelatin silver photograph (110 x 90 mm) mounted on stiff card (220 x 170 mm), inscribed in white ink on the mount beneath the photograph: 'With Christmas Greetings from Dr and Mrs Ramsay Smith'. It is stamped on the rear 'Photo. by Dr. W. Ramsay Smith' and captioned in his hand 'At Port Vila - New Hebrides'
Ramsay Smith describes 'picture-making' at Port Vila in detail in his 1924 book 'In Southern Seas' and this image contains all the elements referred to: one's wife 'for comparison and relief to the various objects in the picture', the harbour as background to the wooded heights, the ship in the distance ... The corners of the mount are slightly rounded, and both the image and the mount are a little foxed; overall it is an attractive item with more than the usual amount of background information. William Ramsay Smith (1859-1937), physician, naturalist, anthropologist, civil servant, soldier - and controversy was often never far away (see the Australian Dictionary of Biography). His entry there states that 'Believing that tribal Aborigines were dying out, he recorded their folklore in 'Myths and Legends of the Australian Aborigines' (London, 1930). Subsequent to this being published, Dr Philip Jones has also recorded in the ADB that from the early 1920s David Unaipon (1872-1967), the Aboriginal preacher, author and inventor 'studied Aboriginal mythology and compiled his versions of legends ... Gathered before 1930, the legends are in his surviving manuscript in the Mitchell Library: they were commissioned and published by William Ramsay Smith, without acknowledgment'.