Saturday 9 February 2013

The New Zealand Newfoundland

 In this photograph a young women poses with her large Newfoundland dog at her feet. Newfoundland's take their name from the island of Newfoundland (now part of Canada) where they were originally bred to work for fishermen.

A Newfoundland in John Bigland's 1884 book A Natural History of Animals

The black and white variety of Newfoundland's are know as "Landseer" dogs after the British painter Sir Edwin Landseer. Landseer's 1831 painting A Distinguished Member of the Humane Society (which is shown below) is the most famous representation of the breed in black and white.

Author Robert Leighton describes the Landseer Newfoundland in 1910 as "a dog of great beauty, dignity, and benevolence of character, showing in its eyes an almost human pathos."

My photograph was taken by the Clarke Brothers at their "Royal Fine Art Photographic Gallery" in Auckland, New Zealand. The Brothers went into business together in 1873 after a long seven years of training under photographer Mr Crombie as you can see in the advert that they took out in the Auckland Star Newspaper (shown below - click on the image to enlarge)

It was not long before the brothers needed extra assistance as their business grew. As you can see in this "wanted" advert (shown below - click on the image to enlarge)

                          An advertisement for the Clarke Brothers in the New Zealand Herald, 12th September 1879

 The reverse of the photograph, depicting a Wet-plate camera and the motto Light & Truth

You can see some more photographs by the Clarke Brothers here in the Auckland Council Library, and here on a blog about Early New Zealand photographers.

  • The Clarke Brothers in the Australasian Federal Directory of Commerce, Trades and Professions, 1887
  • The Clarke Brothers in Auckland Star, Volume 1089, Issue 1089, 19 July 1873, Page 1
  • The Clarke Brothers in Auckland Star, Volume X, Issue 2774, 17 March 1879, Page 3
  • The Clarke Brothers in Otago Daily Times , Issue 6991, 12 July 1884, Page 4 
  • The Clarke Brothers in Otago Daily Times , Issue 7047, 16 September 1884, Page 4  
  • Example of a wet-plate camera on Camera-wiki
  • A Natural History of Animals by John Bigland, 1844
  • Dogs and All About Them, by Robert Leighton, 1910


  1. The Landseer Newfie is a gorgeous creature. Thanks SO much for posting these photos and the historical details that go with them.

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