Friday, November 7, 2008
A stunning photo album with hundreds of 130-year-old images of British forces attempting to spread the empire through Africa will be sold at auction.
The previously unseen pictures, including some from the Anglo-Zulu war in 1879, form a magnificent record of the Victorian era, including shots of prominent royal Zulus.
The black and white photos were compiled and probably taken by Sir Henry Norbury KCB, a naval surgeon and later honorary surgeon to Kings Edward and George.
The whiskered medic was present at numerous actions and was mentioned in dispatches several times.
His pictures include those of female witch doctors, Zulu warriors, British camps, ships, and landscapes.
The album was given to him by his wife Mina in 1868 for his birthday and he filled it during his glorious career. It has been in the Dorset-based family ever since.
Sir Henry Norbury sailed on HMS Active to the south of the African continent and accompanied his ship's contingent inland where they fought the Zulus and the Xhosas.
He was in medical charge of the Naval Brigade and during the Kaffir War of 1878 was present in the actions at Quorra River and Quintana.
During the Zulu War the following year he was at the battle of Inyezane and was mentioned in dispatches for both conflicts.
He became fleet surgeon and later was appointed to head the Naval Hospital at the Cape of Good Hope.
One picture shows the King of the Zulus, Cetshwayo, and there are others captioned as his 'brothers'.
Another photograph is labelled 'Meeting of British Commissioners and Ketshurayo's (Cetshwayo's) Indunas at Lower Tugela Drift,December 1878'.
He records the 'Natal Contingent' - a collection of native warriors complete with shields and spears - who were on the side of the British.
There is also a picture of the naval hospital at Lower Tugela and another of Euphorbia Hill and Fort Pearson - important locations in the Zulu war.
Ned Cowell, from George Kidner Auctions in Lymington, Hampshire, said: 'The album came to us from the family.
'It's unclear whether Norbury was a photographer, and if he was how many of these he took.
'There do appear to be some copies that were perhaps added later on. In total there are about 200 photographs, many of which are of locations in Africa.
'Sir Henry Norbury was on HMS Active and went ashore as part of the Naval Brigade.
'Brigades such as these were formed at various times when marines and sailors were used to form part of a land force.
'There is a great deal of historical interest in these photographs and it is a wonderful record kept by a distinguished surgeon.'
The lot is estimated at between £1,500 and £2,000 and is to go under the hammer on November 20.