Another version of this photograph, without the caption, is in a group of 85 glass lantern slides of South Africa by the Australian photography firm Linton Brothers that are in the collection of the State Library of Victoria, Australia. There are a few errors in the library’s description, which incorrectly identifies the location as Cape Town. The slogan “Wonder City” was used in travel advertisements and posters for Johannesburg in the 1930s, and so the photograph offered here, while possibly taken in the 1920s as the State Library of Victoria indicates, was probably printed in the 1930s. In addition, the Wonder City slogan and additional calligraphic descriptions are further indication that this large example of the photograph was likely used to encourage travel, perhaps in a travel agency.
The National Bank Building featured in the center of the photograph was designed by Leck and Emley and built in 1903-04. It is now the First National Bank at 80 Albertina Sisalu Road, near the Johannesburg City Hall and City Library. A street view on Google Maps shows that the buildings to the left in the vintage photograph, that then housed the Royal Exchange Assurance building and the City Business College, were demolished and replaced by an addition to the National Bank building in the same architectural style. The demilune windows shown in the upper story were also replaced by rectangular ones.
Linton Brothers were listed in Sydney, Australia, business directories as “photographic material and stock importers.”
Condition: Generally very good with the usual overall light toning, wear handling. Few minor scratches and abrasions to surface, unobtrusive. Backed on cardboard, as issued, apparently not affecting the photograph other than as slightly warped and cockled. In original oak frame with usual wear and shrinkage.
“Beyers Naudé Square.” Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beyers_Naud%C3%A9_Square (18 October 2015).
“National Bank building.” State Library of Victoria. http://handle.slv.vic.gov.au/10381/95299 and http://search.slv.vic.gov.au/primo_library/libweb/action/dlDisplay.do?vid=MAIN&docId=SLV_VOYAGER2162899&fn=permalink (18 October 2015).
“Notes on the Geography of Johannesburg, South Africa.” The Great Mirror. 8 October 2015. http://www.greatmirror.com/index.cfm?navid=1437 (18 October 2015).