Henry Winkelmann

untitled

c. 1905
gelatin silver print
290mm x 380mm

signed H. Winkelmann in ink lower left

Provenance

Private Collection, Christchurch.

Essay

This Henry Winkelmann photograph depicts a cutter (possibly the Ariki) under full sail on the Waitemata harbour, circa 1905. Boat racing was tremendously popular in Auc...

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Estimate $500 - $1,000
Achieved $1,172.50

Henry Winkelmann

untitled

c. 1905

gelatin silver print

signed H. Winkelmann in ink lower left

290mm x 380mm

Auction N˚2

Estimate $500 - $1,000

Achieved $1,172.50

Yacht Racing on the Waitemata c.1905

by Julian McKinnon

This Henry Winkelmann photograph depicts a cutter (possibly the Ariki) under full sail on the Waitemata harbour, circa 1905. Boat racing was tremendously popular in Auckland in the early 1900s. Handsome monetary prizes were offered to winners, bookmakers took many a wager, and talk of racing filled the air at bars along the waterfront. Winkelmann was one of New Zealand’s most widely known photographers in the early 20th Century, and had as much enthusiasm for yachting as he did for photography. He was intensely involved with the Auckland Yacht club, and as many as half of his photographs were nautical in content.

Winkelmann emigrated to New Zealand from Yorkshire in 1878, aged 28. He found himself out of work in Auckland in 1881, which led him to take on an adventurous employment opportunity. He and another man travelled to uninhabited Jarvis Island at the Pacific equator to claim it on behalf of Thomas Henderson, an Auckland entrepreneur and politician whom the suburb of Henderson is named after. The two men were dropped off at the island, intending to be collected three months later—the time period necessary to validate Henderson’s land claim. However, the plan went awry and they were not collected for eight months. Surviving on bird’s eggs and turtles, the men were near starvation when they were eventually rescued. Winkelmann thereafter took employment as a bank clerk—opting for a stable and predictable way of earning a living after his perilous expedition. His fascination with yachts may well have been fostered during this eight-month stranding. No doubt apparitions of a ship under sail would have haunted his dreams and imaginings as he yearned for a safe return to civilisation.