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'South Africa Illustrated by a series of one hundred and four permanent photographs', Port Elizabeth : R Harris, 1888

Reference Code: GBR/0115/RCS/Y305C

Scope and Contents

Originally a printed book containing carbon prints tipped onto the leaves above brief letterpress captions. The captions have been used as titles and may contain offensive, inappropriate or outdated terms. They have been retained to reflect the context of the collection's creation. Titles supplied by the cataloguer are enclosed in square brackets. The photographs have been removed and are housed in inert archival sleeves. Most of the photographs, with the exception of a few large format prints, measure approximately 190 x 125 mm.


  • Creation: 1888


Conditions Governing Access

Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (

Biographical / Historical

Robert Harris was an important commercial photographer operating in South Africa in the latter part of the nineteenth century. From 1880-1890 he was based at Donkin Street, Port Elizabeth and from 1891-94 was in partnership with Thomas McNaught at the same address. His activities before and after these dates are unknown, although he was certainly photographically active at an earlier date. At the 'Photographic Studio' in Donkin Street he advertised a wide range of photographs, including 'farms, houses, monumental tablets, boats, horses, dogs, birds, etc.' and a 'complete series of views of Port Elizabeth' ('The General Directory and Guide Book for the Cape of Good Hope' 1883). His speciality appears to have been the production of printed albums of views and Mendelssohn's South African bibliography lists three other works illustrated by Harris in addition to this volume: Harris, R (c. 1876) 'Photographic views of Port Elizabeth and neighbourhood', Port Elizabeth : [s.n] (26 prints); Harris, R (188?), 'Photographic Album of South African Scenery', Port Elizabeth : [s.n.] (108 prints); Cowen, Charles (1882), 'Southampton to South Africa', London : [s.n.], (24 prints). The first two of these works, and the present volume, were probably produced at the printing and stationery firm of William Harris and Co., 35 Main Street, Port Elizabeth. Harris exhibited at both the South African Exhibition at Port Elizabeth in 1885 and at the Colonial and Indian Exhibition in London the following year. At the former exhibition his 'enlargements, panoramic scenery and instantaneous studies' were commended as 'particularly good specimens of the respective classes of work'.


0.01 cubic metre(s) (104 images in 1 archive box)

Language of Materials


Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

The photographs are generally in good condition, apart from slight dirt marking and crazing of the emulsion in a few instances. The volume was disbound in February 1980 owing to water damage to the cover caused by the flood of that date.

Existence and Location of Copies

This collection is available on microfiche: Africa, fiche numbers 156-157.


This item level description was entered by KS using information from the original typescript catalogue.

Date information

Date refers to date of publication.

Includes index.
2003-09-16 11:13:33+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

Cambridge University Library
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Cambridge CB3 9DR United Kingdom