Consigned locally, the 22 x 21in (56 x 53cm) gelatin silver print of the sitter wearing a traditional huia-feather headdress sold to a UK buyer for £6400 against a £6000-8000 estimate on January 26.
The print was painted over in 1885 by Helen Stuart (fl.1880s), one of a few recorded colourists who emigrated to New Zealand from Scotland. She mostly used photographs taken by her brother, Samuel Stuart Jnr, and those of Josiah Martin (1843-1916), an English teacher who travelled to New Zealand in the 1870s.
It is possible this example was taken by the latter. According to a piece written in The Christchurch Star in 1886, a photograph of a Maori coloured by Stuart was included in an exhibition of New Zealand art held at the Royal Albert Hall in London, where examples of Martin’s ethnological and topographical photographs are also recorded as being exhibited.
Works by both Stuart and Martin do not often appear on the secondary market.