Lot 4
  • 4

Anonymous Australian Photographer

5,000 - 7,000 USD
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  • Anonymous Australian Photographer
  • daguerreotypes
2 sixth-plate daguerreotypes, one showing a Greenhouse Structure and the other Exotic Foliage in the Melbourne, Australia, Garden of Dr. Godfrey Howitt, each in a gilt-edged passe-partout and titled in an unidentified hand in pencil on the reverse, 1840s (2)


George R. Rinhart, Catalogue 9, item 37

Catalogue Note

These rare Australian daguerreotypes were made in the garden of physician, botanist, and entomologist Dr. Godfrey Howitt.  The garden was situated on his property, bordered by Collins Street, Flinders Lane, and Spring Street in Melbourne.  A street that currently runs through this now urbanized area is Howitt Lane.  Dr. Howitt was born in Derbyshire in Great Britain in 1800.  He studied medicine at Edinburgh University, and thereafter practiced as a physician while pursuing his passionate interests in plants and insects.  He was a founder of the London Entomological Society, and a member of the Botanical Society of Edinburgh.  In 1839 he published a small volume on Nottinghamshire flora.  In 1840, he immigrated to Australia and settled in Melbourne, bringing with him a prefabricated wooden cottage which he assembled upon the above-mentioned property.  It was there, too, that he built the extensive garden pictured in the two daguerreotypes offered here.  He was associated with the newly-established Melbourne Hospital, practiced at the Melbourne Benevolent Asylum, and was a member of the Medical Board of Victoria.  Though raised as a Quaker, Howitt became interested in Spiritualism, perhaps through his brother William Howitt, editor of the Spiritual Magazine in London.  Dr. Howitt's reputation as a botanist was such that an Australian variety of the mallow plant was named Howitta in his memory.  Dr. Howitt died in 1873 near Melbourne, in Caulfield.