“The Car and The Driver/1928 Marco Polo and Will C.”


Anonymous “Grand Tour” Photo Album.


A Grand Tour photo album containing 401 photographs taken predominately in Italy, England and Egypt with some photos from Adelaide and on board the SS Caprera as it crossed the Indian Ocean. Places visited include Harrow, Cambridge, Igtham, Cantebury, Fawley, Henley, Bellagio, Ravenna, Lake Orta, San Gimignano, Mentone, Renne, Appia, Vallombrus, Selinute, Girgente, Campanile, Gubbio, Segesta, Pisa, Perugia, Mt Vesuvius, Urbino, Oberhoffen, Goshenen, Chamoix, Locarno, Matterhorn, Syracuse, Entreveaux (and more).

Oblong album in original black leather cover with new cord binding, 34 x 25cm, 24 thick black card leaves containing 401 black and white photos mounted loosely in black paper corners, numerous captions in white lettering on black.

Very Good. Boards are edgeworn, corners rubbed and frayed, photos are Very Good to Fine, nearly all in focus, corners sharp, occasional nicks and tears to margins (some expertly repaired), one or two missing a corner, many with additional notes in ink to the versos. Photos range in dimensions from 4 x 6cm (smallest) to 10 x 15cm (largest). Lacks 9 photos as indicated by empty frames. Nevertheless an impressive collection.

A coherent album documenting a trip that appears to have begun in Sydney on board the SS Caprera in December 1927, but also includes photos in the Adelaide Botanical Gardens that may have been taken before or after. Several people are identified on board the SS Caprera including Melbourne University’s Professor Boyce-Gibson and a gentleman captioned “Carllini” who bears a passing resemblance to contemporary philosopher Armando Carlini, lecturer at the University of Pisa and follower of the Fascist philosopher Giovani Gentile. There is an Elsie Chalmers on board and elsewhere which leads to speculation that “Will C” is perhaps an abbreviation for William Chalmers. The car “Marco Polo” appears only a handful of times throughout and if the driver “Will C” appears in any photographs he is not nominated. Perhaps he was the photographer. Whoever the photographer was, they had an eye for architecture and form. The most regularly nominated subject is a woman designated by the initials “N.J.” and almost as often another woman designated “W.A.W.” Elsie Chalmers also appears in some non ship-board photos as “E.C.”

The journey as presented here may not be in its original order as the leaves were disbound when we acquired it. We have chosen to keep the order as we received it as it seems to have a rough logic. There are numerous photographs throughout of significant architecture, monuments and ruins, landscapes, street-life and marketplaces, including peasant life and a fascist march. Vesuvius smokes in a handful (dated March 1928) and the travellers were in San Marino for the April election of the Capitani Regenti. Altogether the album appears to be a wonderful pictorial record of a journey undertaken by at least four friends through England, Europe and Egypt between the wars.