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C. D.Weld At Japanese Children's Party
Opening: $450
Hammer Price: $460
Skylight Gallery 31
October 2010

Four albumen prints of Japanese in traditional clothing engaged in festivities with Westerners, by an unidentified photographer in Japan circa 1886. Prints mounted on gray period album pages measuring 11 x 13.5 inches (28x34 cm), two pages inscribed in ink "Japan / Childrens Garden Party". Descending from the family of Charles Goddard Weld. Print size 8.75 x 10.5 inches (22x27 cm).   ( Inventory# ic751b )

A fantastic series of images from the estate of John Weld, which appear to show Weld and other westerners hosting an America-themed party for local Japanese on the grounds of a western-style building, perhaps an embassy, somewhere in Japan. These presumable relate to Weld's first extended visit to Japan which occurred in 1886.

Condition: the images are in overall excellent condition; tones are rich with some of the prints showing small areas of fading.

The first image presents a view of the building at which the festivities occurred, posed on its steps are westerners, Japanese, and a stars-and-stripes flag with anchor motif, held by a small Japanese child:

The second photograph shows a group of westerners and Japanese in generally dignified pose, with a mischievous-looking westerner who appears to be Weld giving a piggyback ride to Japanese child (who continues to hold the stars-and-stripes flag) as her smiling mother looks on:

In the third image the scene appears to have shifted to another side of the building, where the ever-versatile Weld holds a Japanese infant while posed as if giving a rickshaw ride to two Japanese ladies. A Japanese man crouches in front of Weld, smiling, and makes some sort of gesture with his hand. This print is titled on the mount "Japan / Childrens Garden Party":

In the fourth print, Weld and other Westerners pose with a group of Japanese who appear to be engaged in a game of tug-of-war, but also have two rickshaws, perhaps for some sort of rickshaw race. A large audience of Japanese adults and children look on. At the center, mounted atop a platform and in front of a wide silk banner, a Japanese official in samurai-like clothing and topknot hairstyle sternly officiates. The mount is again inscribed in ink "Japan / Childrens Garden Party":

These photographs come from a group of travel albums descending from the family of Charles Goddard Weld (1857-1911) and believed to be Weld's personal albums, as several bear his bookplate. Weld, a Boston-area physician, traveled to the East at the end of the 19th century and had important connections to Asian art as well as to the photographer Edward Curtis. He donated a collection of over 100 original Curtis images to the Peabody Essex Museum of Salem, Massachusetts and an important collection of Asian art to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. These photographs were likely gathered by Weld during his travels in the East.

Below: Book plate from one of Weld's travel albums:

Images and text copyright 2001-2014 by Christopher Wahren Fine Photographs

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