McGregor Museum

Mc Gregor Museum
Kimberley (South Africa)



By Courtesy of McGregor Museum, Kimberley

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This is a fine example of an opalotype, also known as a milk glass positive. It is one of the lesser-known treasures in the photographic collection of the McGregor Museum, Kimberley, South Africa. The image depicts Neville Ernest Pickering (1857-1886), a close friend and confidant of mining magnate and imperialist Cecil John Rhodes, who was at Pickering’s side when he died at the age of 29. Rhodes was devastated by the death of the young man who had served as secretary of De Beers Mining Company from 1882.

The opalotype measures 70 x 56 cm, and bears some resemblance to a fine pastel or charcoal sketch. It is one of only a very few opalotypes in our collection, and certainly the largest and best.

By Robert Hart