Views of the Caribbean island of Martinique taken by S. N. Carvalho in 1872. Depicted are the city of Fort-de-France, including dwellings, structures, a statue of French Empress Josephine, the bay and harbor, and a public square; a residence and roadway in Trois Isles (Les Trois-Îlets), the birthplace of Empress Josephine; a river front view of the Seminary of St. Joseph; miscellaneous structures; various groves and "avenues" of coconut and palm trees, including a palm tree avenue used as a dueling ground; mineral hot baths; views of a plantation near Saint-Pierre; the Governor's garden with unique species of palm trees; a cemetery; an unidentified church building; various docked ships, many in dry dock, at Fort-de-France; uniformed dock workers and sailors; and dry docks being filled with water. Some views of Fort-de-France show Mount Pelée and Les Trois-Îlets in the background.
A leather presentation bookplate attached to the inside of album cover reads "Presented to Dr. Cornelius R. Agnew by the ever grateful patient S. N. Carvalho." Attached to recto of blank in front of album is a handwritten letter from Carvalho to Dr. Agnew presenting the album as a belated gift to Agnew who had performed a cataract operation on Carvalho. The letter was probably written in 1874 following the publication of an article by Carvalho ("Rambles in Martinique," Harper's New Monthly Magazine, January 1874, 161-177) which is cited therein.
Biographical/historical: Solomon Nunes Carvalho, painter and daguerreotypist, was born in 1815, in Charleston, South Carolina, into a Jewish family of Spanish-Portugese descent. He would establish himself as a portrait painter and studio photographer, mainly in Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York, from the 1830s to the 1870s, but was best known as the photographer for explorer John C. Fremont's 1853-54 expedition from Missouri to Utah to locate a potential railroad route to the Pacific. Carvalho's experience with Fremont was recounted in his 1856 publication "Incidents of Travel and Adventure in the Far West." With his eyesight failing in the 1870s, he ended his business and lived comfortably off the financial rewards made from a pressurized steam engine that he had invented. Carvalho died in New York City in 1897.