Saturday, August 4, 2018

A cup of cold Christchurch poison ...

I was only looking for some clue as to who this my-town old gent may have been ..

He's not labelled. But the photographer is. [Niels] Peter Schourup of Colombo Street South. Who was found dead, alongside a phial of chloral hydrate in 1887 ...

Schourup seems to have arrived in the colony, from his native Denmark, about 1875, and set up in Christchurch as a photographer. His premises were burned down in 1879, thanks to the explosion of a stash of Chinese crackers in Ah Sing's neighbouring shop, but he took over the well-know Gaul studio opposite the City Hotel while his studio was rebuilt and, thereafter, established himself as the most consequent photographer of the time and place, up till his death which was urgently (and probably correctly) diagnosed as liverish-accidental rather than suicidal.

He left behind him a large stock of negatives, and for many years after his death, prints from his film were advertised for sale. But I think those might have been his many official and ceremonial photos, rather than this unidentifed gent ..

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