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The Progress of H.R.H. Prince Alfred Ernest Albert through the Cape Colony, British Kaffraria... in the year 1860

Reference Code: GBR/0115/RCS/Y305V

Scope and Contents

A quarto, 180 page volume recording the visit of Prince Alfred, later Duke of Edinburgh, second son of Queen Victoria, to South Africa. Bound in a decorative purple cover, it appeared in 1861. It was illustrated with actual photographs stuck in; ten reproduce paintings by Thomas Bowler (1812-1869) or Thomas Baines (1822-1875); the remainder are actual photographs of events of the Prince's visit (1, 7-11 and 13).

The following notes draw extensively on Bull and Denfield (1970), which notes the existence of two variant editions (p.167). The Library has two copies which on examination show several differences; the careful analysis of these in the following list were made by the late Ian Knights, Information Officer of the Royal Commonwealth Society, on 18 February 1977. The Library's two copies are indicated by A and B: A being a complete copy, B is a poorer copy, lacking plate 13.

The photographers whose work is included were:
Arthur Green (1832-1873)
Arthur Green was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, in 1832. He moved to the Cape in the late 1840s. In 1853 he was employed as a clerk in the Office of Orange River Sovereignty at Bloemfontein. He moved to Grahamstown in 1854. He toured Kaffraria as a photographer in the mid-1850s and had a studio in Grahamstown in 1857. He disposed of this studio in 1861. In the same year he took over Frederick York's Cape Town studio, but the studio closed due to financial problems in 1862. Green opened portrait rooms in Longmarket Street, Cape Town, in November 1862. However, he became insolvent and his equipment was sold in 1864. Thereafter, until he left the Cape in 1866, he worked as a photographic assistant. He went to New York, again working as a photographic assistant. In 1873, still in New York, he died of consumption (Bull and Denfield 1970, pp.193-194). Plate 7.

Joseph Kirkman
Joseph Kirkman was a commercial photographer active in South Africa. In 1859 he opened a studio in Greenmarket Street, Cape Town. For a time he was in partnership with William Barclay. In 1860 Kirkman and Frederick York were employed by the Government and the Harbour Board to photograph the tilting of the first truck of stone off the Breakwater by Prince Alfred. In 1866 Kirkman disposed of his studio negatives to Lawrence and Selkirk. He set up a studio in George in 1867, but in December 1868 he returned to Cape Town with a studio at 2 Adderley Street. Kirkman's attempt to reestablish himself was not successful. He retired from professional photography in 1870 and left for New Zealand in 1879 (Bull and Denfield 1970, p.201). Plates 1-6, 12 and 16-17.

Frederick Arlington Viler York (1823-1903)
Frederick Arlington Viler York was born in Bridgwater, Somerset, England, in 1823. He was apprenticed to a chemist in 1839. He worked as a 'Medical Galvanist' in Bath in the 1850s. He moved to Cape Town, South Africa, in 1855, where he worked as a professional photographer. He had learnt photography from Mr. Cogan, of Bath, before he left England. On his return to England in 1861 he was employed by the London Stereoscopic Company. He photographed Prince Alfred and, in 1863, the Prince of Wales. He started his own business in Lancaster Road, London, in 1864. He specialized in magic lantern slides and educational lecture sets. In 1882 the business was renamed York and Son. A branch was also opened in Friarn Street, Bridgwater. In 1869 York became a member of the Royal Photographic Society. He was on the Council of the Society 1879-81. York died in December 1903 (Bull and Denfield 1970, pp.218-221). Plates 8-11 and 13-15.


  • Creation: 1860 - 1861


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 (


2 volume(s) (17 images in 2 volumes)

Language of Materials


Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Copy A is in fair condition although the photographs have faded. Copy B has stained and worn binding and the photographs have faded more.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Copy A was given by the Seafarer's Education Service in 1969, Copy B by J. Bourdillon in 1919.


The full citation for this volume is: Noble, Roderick (1861), 'The progress of H.R.H. Prince Alfred Ernest Albert through the Cape Colony, British Kaffraria, The Orange Free State, and Port Natal, in the year 1860', Cape Town: Saul Solomon. Further information on this volume and the photographers can be found in: Bull, Marjorie and Denfield, Joseph (1970), 'Secure the shadow: the story of Cape photography from its beginnings to the end of 1870', Cape Town: Terence McNally.


This item level description was entered by NE and MJC using information from the original typescript catalogue.


Noble, Roderick, fl 1860-1861

Includes index.
2004-06-16 10:09:02+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

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