A vintage albumen paper photograph (147 x 205 mm) on the original mount (234 x 312 mm, with a thin red line forming a border about a centimetre away from the image). The negative is captioned 'Milford 1890 AD' and 'FAC' in the bottom left- and right-hand corners respectively
FAC is Frank Arnold Coxhead (1851-1908), a well-known photographer in Dunedin from the 1870s to the 1890s. An extraordinary blog on Early New Zealand Photographers made short work of our research. 'Visits to the West Coast Sounds' is a short article reprinted on the section on Frank Coxhead and his brothers. 'Between 1884 and 1893 Frank Coxhead made at least 13 visits to the West Coast Sounds on the SS Tarawera'. Two trips are recorded for 1890: the first one departed from Port Chalmers on 20 January and returned on 29 January; the second one departed from Port Chalmers the same day. The photograph is a group portrait of sixteen people standing on stony ground against a backdrop of dense forest; one of the subjects, wearing a peaked cap and uniform (jacket at any rate), is presumably the captain of the ship. At the rear on the left, with his arm draped over a camera on a tripod, is Frank Coxhead, having just taken this fine self-portrait. The mount is a little discoloured and slightly worn at the corners; the photograph is slightly oxidised near the left- and right-hand edges, and there is a tiny surface chip to one hat, but overall it is in very good condition.