Purchase receipt of images of the photographer J. W. Lindt



The album 'Ciarpe, frastagli and scampoli' contains travel notes, memories, tickets and photographs collected by Captain Enrico d'Albertis during his first travel around the world (1877-78). Among the several stories told in this Album, the Museum Director and Curator Maria Camilla De Palma found the purchase receipt of a group of images sold to Enrico D'Albertis by the photographer J. W. Lindt.


English translation

Melbourne 23 February 1889


My dear Signor D'Albertis!


Your letter dated 12 January reached me yesterday. You may imagine that it gave me great pleasure to hear from you after so many years. I had twice before written to you, and once to Beccari to the Museum but never received an answer, but I thought I would change it once more for I want to send you my book. I had some hope also of seeing you out in Australia again and I still hope to meet you again. You need not think we have forgotten you for although there are always some people envious of your fame, no one has gone up the "Fly" since you left, higher than the northern branch. Capt. Everills voyage you will read an abstract in the appendix of my book. As much as I would have loved to cross your path in New Guinea, I could not manage it and I never got further west than the Aroa River which is about twenty miles east of Yule Island. All through the journey, I had you in my mind and constantly wished you were with us. When you read the preface of "Picturesque New Guinea" you will see that ever since I met you I could not rest until I had visited this land of primeval man. I greatly felt my want of knowledge in botany geology and natural history but no man can be expected to be versed in every branch of science and many things I could not describe, I could photograph. Our voyage throughout was [working] in the incident and totally devoid of romance unless indeed you take into consideration General Scratchley's death. He loved nothing but himself and his own advancement and only looked upon New Guinea as the stepping stone to the Governorship of Tasmania. He was afraid of the natives, afraid of fever and strange to say he was the only one who died. The man is dead and it would be bad grace to say anything against him. I brought back with me a large ethnological collection and my house is full of bows, arrows, Stone implements and all sorts of New Guinea weapons, nets and [snals/mals] and one room in particular smells strongly of Papua in hot moist weather. Is it not strange what a fascination such a wild country can have over some civilized men! If it were not that I can really not leave a business I believe I would try and accomplish the ascent of Mount Owen Stanley which my friend H.U. Forbes almost succeeded in. New Guinea what is to say some parts of it is very much more accessible now than in your time, and the eastern peninsula is tolerably well known along with the Sea coast. They are also getting to know more about the Louisiade Archipelago since they found Gold at Sud-Est Island. Your two volumes in New Guinea are always handy on my bookshelves and I have read them through and enjoyed your ardour and enthusiasm and imagine every time I read them again – someday I will see this man again. You say you are getting old, well, you will laugh when you see me again for I have become quite grey-headed although thank God I am very strong and active yet. You may remember once seeing my poor wife in Grafton. Poor thing she was an invalid for 14 years and died of cancer last year in May. Her life for years was a martyrdom but now she is at rest. The Government of Queensland did me the honour to appoint me honorary Commissioner for New Guinea during the Centennial Exhibition and I managed to have a separate little court which with my own hands I decorated as well as the materials would allowed it. At any rate all the papers agreed that the N. G. Court was "the attraction" among the minor Courts. Now our great show is all over and some of the things are being sent to Paris. The Commissioners for Paris have purchased a set (7) of my large New Guinea Views and if you should happen to visit Paris you will no doubt see them.

If you should ever come to Melbourne again I reckon that you will make my house your home. I live 3 1/2 miles from the city and have a tolerably nice garden. I was in Europe 18 months ago. I had made up my mind to find you but unfortunately had to fight "The religious Tract Society"!! in London who had pirated 30 of my pictures and reproduces them in a book by Chelmurs. this miserable affair cost me 3 weeks' time and so I was cheated out of my trip to Italy. But I have the satisfaction to be able to tell you that "The R.T.Society was in the end very glad to pay me £100.- royalty, for the use of my pictures in the first edition of Chelmurs book – to be paid again if a second edition (1000) is printed and also pay all law expenses, besides cutting out of the binding, 400 volumes, and inserting a paragraph of my dictation in the preface. From a commercial point of view, I suppose I must also be satisfied, for Longmans, the publisher bought almost enough copies to cover all printing expenses and that present I have made about £120 -clear and have about 150 books to sell or give away as I please. Considering this was my first attempt I have every reason to be satisfied. Now do right me also a long letter – never mind any bad English, I will understand it, tell me where you have been all these years and whether you are married – and whether you would like to see Yule Island again and find the baby you named "Italia". There is a catholic mission at Yule Island now and the patres are french. I shall tell Baron Von Muller I had a letter from you. He holds you in kind remembrance. Now Adio for this time. I shall send you a book by this same mail and feel sure no one will read with greater interest and look at the pictures with a better understanding than you.

Yours faithfully,