The Robert Louis Stevenson Archive

Catalogue of Photographs

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suggest an addition or correction to the list

Items are photographs, unless otherwise stated; capital-letter R/L = Right/Left of photo; small-letter r/l = to the subject's right/left; 3q r = three-quarter face right (i.e. subject turned a quarter to his/her right), l profile = showing the left side of the face, looking l = looking to subject's left, on the L of the photo = on the left for the viewer. Other abbreviations at the end of this page.

Thanks to Elaine Greig of The Writers' Museum, Edinburgh,and to Corrina S. Flanagan of the Beinecke Library, Yale, for all the information kindly supplied concerning their collections.

Images are numbered for each year (to avoid complete renumbering of the whole list for additions and re-arrangements); dates like c1879, ?1879 and 1879/80 have been listed under 1879. Reproductions in published works and references to photographic agencies are placed in square brackets.

For Abbreviations, see the list at the bottom of the page.






BL, Add 71934, Folio 126': 'carte de visite', described as 'Family group, with RLS seated on the right', Photographer - 'Sawyer's Italian Studios'. Image not seen.




Mrs Margaret Stevenson (l profile, r hand to chin) holding RLS, aged 1 

TWM, BLY [Bm 38]



RLS on chair holding l thumb in r hand 

'Age 20 months, 1852' (Hammerton 12); probably BLYS 'Daguerrotype of RLS at age 2' (Turner Gift, B2 F15)

Yale Stevenson Vault B2 F15; Princeton, Scribner Archive C0101 Box 143 Folder 10 [Hammerton 12, Bm 38]



(i) RLS with his mother: mother seated, young Louis standing in dress to L of his mother, round table with two large books behind; (ii) half-length picture of RLS leaning against his mother (on L, holding his l arm with her r hand) 

'Mrs Stevenson, distinguished, genial, with the four-year-old Lewis scowling at the poor photographer' (Guthrie 28); BLYS also has a 'Daguerrotype of RLS at age 4' (Turner Gift, B2 F16). ‘I have seen a beautiful photograph of him, like one of Raffael’s children, taken when his years were three or four’, Andrew Lang (1905) in Terry: 58.

(i) [Calder 39, Neider, USC] (ii) TWM [Daiches 9; Le Bris 1, McLynn]]



Sketch of RLS by James Archer, R.S.A 

TWM; [Hammerton 12]



RLS wearing cape made by Alison Cunningham: (i) without hat, (ii) with hat 

By Edinburgh photographer John Moffat

i) TWM; Yale Stevenson Vault B2 F16 (Beinecke 11211755); Princeton, Scribner Archive C0101 Box 143 Folder 10, (ii) TWM, Princeton, Scribner Archive C0101 Box 143 Folder 10 [Masson xii, Bm 38, USC]



RLS wearing white dress 




RLS standing by table, wearing dark smock with large light-coloured buttons and pantaloons, short hair, holding whip in l hand, r arm resting on round table

By Edinburgh photographer John Moffat

TWM [Le Bris 3, Bm 38]



RLS (L) and his cousin Bob (R) sitting on a bench; both wear identical circular bonnets and wide collars.

Guthrie (Robert Louis Stevenson: Some personal recollections, 1924, p. 28) has the caption ‘The 8-year-old Lewis with his cousin. R. L. S. is on the right’, and in the text identifies the cousin as ‘Lewis Balfour’ (which could be Lewis ‘Cramond’ b. 1850, or Lewis Charles b. 1851), and this is repeated by Le Bris (Stevenson, Cahiers de l’Herne, 1995, No. 4). Rice (Journey to Upolo, 1974, p. 5), again says RLS is on the right, but says the cousin is Bob and this is repeated in McClynn’s biography. However, it is unlikely, since that Bob is the boy on the left as he was three years older (b. 1847). However, the boy on the left looks more like the photos of RLS in this period, and the boy on the right looks like Bob in the family group at Peebles c. 1862

TWM, Beinecke [Guthrie 28, Le Bris 4, Rice 5, McLynn]



RLS and his father: father seated, Louis standing (loose jacket, buttoned and belted) with r hand on his father's l shoulder, drapery on the father's side 

TWM [The Mansell Collection, Furnas, Calder 45, Terry 4, Bm 36 USC, harman]



RLS (l profile, turning towards the camera, wearing tall cap with small peak) on a donkey at Broomieknowe, another boy on R. 

'aged ten' (Daiches 19), 'aged about ten' (Daiches 120), 'prise pendant ses vacances à Prestonpans' (le Bris)

TWM [Daiches 19, le Bris 5]



RLS (centre) and his cousins David and Charles Stevenson by a wall and wooden steps at North Berwick, blowing soap bubbles

Photo taken by the father of D & C Stevenson, Stevenson's Uncle David Stevenson (his father's brother) (Guthrie 29 quotes a letter of 1914 from the David in the photograph saying he possesses 'some photographs on glass, taken by my father, of R.L., my brother, and myself, blowing soap-bubbles at North Berwick'. This is from the period of the childhood friendships at North Berwick described in S's essay 'The Lantern Bearers'. One of his companions then describes him as having 'a thin, brown face, with very keen, interested gray-brown eyes' (Terry 19)

[Guthrie 28]

1862 c.


Alan Stevenson surrounded by his family and close relatives, including RLS, his mother and father, and RLS's cousin Bob

[Jean Leslie & Roland Paxton (eds.), Bright Lights: The Stevenson Engineers 1752-1971, Edinburgh (published by the authors, 1999); plate 41; credit: family source]


RLS standing (? on stool, wearing suit with waistcoat) behind his mother (dark dress), and cousin Bessie Stevenson (daughter of David Stevenson, later Mrs Napier; light dress), Germany. S has l hand on his mother's l shoulder. Photographer: Hermann Noack, Berlin  (but since the family didn' visit Berlin this was taken elsewhere, maybe Munich or Cologne)

TWM [Hill 36]



RLS seated at an easel used as a book rest, window with diamond-leaded panes behind, r hand resting on ornate stool

[Bm 38]



Torquay full-length studio portraits (by Barratt of Torquay): (i) RLS (hair parted just to the r of centre) standing with l hand on r arm, r hand on the top of a chair on the R, l elbow on the back of the chair (upholstered seat, twisted legs and back columns); l leg bent with foot to the L of r foot: on the L a small octagonal table; (ii) RLS standing r hand leaning on writing desk (two ornate legs, little rail along the top), l hand on hip, lookng l, r knee bent and lower r leg crossed in front of l leg; (iii) RLS sitting on chair, left profile, r leg on l knee, holding book with r hand on r knee; (iv) sitting on the same chair on the other side of the table and leaning back against it with r arm, r hand stedies book on r leg which rests on l knee.

The description of (i) also fits a photo in Princeton Univ. Library (Wainwright XVI.8.B), attributed to J. Barratt, Torquay (RLS was in Torquay in March 1865 and March-April 1866).

(i) TWM, Princeton; (ii) Yale (1119182); (iii) Yale (1119184); (iv) Yale [(i) Hill 10].

1865  ?March, ?Aug 14

Ornate octagonal table photographs: (i) RLS sitting on ornate chair, leaning on an ornate octagonal table with l arm, book in r hand, r leg crossed and resting on l knee; (ii) standing with a thin walking cane in his hands, the table to his l with a top hat on it, chair to his r. 

Table and chair are identical to the Torquay photographs, but RLS is wearing a different jacket and tie. The date given here (14 Aug) must have been taken from somewhere, but cannot now be found in any of the books that have reproduced it.

(i) Yale; (ii) private collection (heirs of Lady Dunpark)
[(i) Bm 39, Hammerton 12, cropped to half-length; (ii) Bm 39, Goudemare 2; Harman ]



RLS 3q r, looking to his l, seated in round-backed upholstered armchair, watch chain visible, r hand resting on r leg, l hand holding disassembled fishing rod 

'is this TLS at 16?' (Guthrie 22), 'the sixteen-year-old Louis, taken in 1866' (Guthrie 29). Looks very similar to 1865.1, perhaps a little older. May have been taken at Peebles where he fished in the Tweed (Guthrie 29)

[Guthrie 22]

1865 (early summer)


RLS (aged 14 and-a-half, in a dark top-buttoned jacket), on a sunny day, standing in the bowered garden path of 8 Whitehouse Terrace, Edinburgh, with (to his right) Robert Thomson and H.C. Baildon (not clear which is which).

8 Whitehouse Terrace was the home (1864-66) of Douw Ditmars Williamson Jr. of New York, manager of the North British Rubber Company, with his wife and adopted orphaned nephew and niece. The adopted son, George Norman Williamson (1853-1905), attended Mr Thomson's school in Frederick Street and was a schoolfriend of RLS and Henry Bellyse Baildon (1849-1907), whose father (shown in the photograph) was ʻchemist and druggistʼ at 73 Princes Street. RLS attended Mr Thomsonʼs school from October 1864 ,so the earliest date for the photograph must be after RLS's return from his stay in Torquay in March-April 1865; and the foliage suggests early summer.

The photograph was posted on by "rmanders" (Richard Anderson), from a family photo album which identifies the two men. Although it identifies the house as 11 Church Hill, Edinburgh, this was the previous home of the Williams family 1862-64—dates that are too early for this photograph.



Callander photographs: (i) RLS standing, wearing suit and holding a book, to left of father, seated, in front of closed door (2, Bracklinn Road, Callander; maybe (from the book) the house of RLSʼs summer tutor.); (ii) two maids, Mr and Mrs Stevenson, RLS, Cummy, in front of a main door with fanlight (Camp View, Stirling Road, Callander); small dog in front (Coolin the terrier). Clothes worn by RLS and his father are the same in both photographs. The watch-chain is on different sides in the two photos (so the second one may be accidentally reversed)

These photos are usually identified as taken in Peebles in 1865 or 1866, but they were actually taken in Callander, near Stirling, in August-September 1866. As a boy of about fourteen 'His limbs were long and lean and spidery, and his chest flat, so as almost to suggest some malnutrition, such sharp angles and corners did his joints make under his clothes. But in his face this was belied. His brow was oval and full, over soft brown eyes… about the mouth and the mirthful, mocking light of the eyes, there lingered ever a ready Autolycus roguery' (Terry 22).

Photo taken the year just before his first (privately printed) publication 'The Pentland Rising' (1866).

(i) TWM [JoH, Le Bris 6], (ii) TWM [Daiches 19, McLynn, Harman]



head and shoulders, facing ¾ l, but eyes looking l, ear-length shaped hair parted in middle, with a form of bow tie.

Probably not Stevenson

NLS(MS 9907, f.143 )– Graham Balfour and Fanny Stevenson thought this was not RLS (see NLS MS 9895, f.245°)



Photograph in Princeton University Library:
Wainwright XVI 8.C: “As a young man, head and shoulders. P. Devine, Edinburgh.”(could be 1876?.1 ‘in the baronet’s hat’)

Princeton U.L.



As a young man, seated with Robert A.M. Stevenson (standing), and Henry Enfield (seated)" (Photo by T.J. Bonne, Edinburgh). RLS looks similar to the Moffat photos of the same period, but the velvet jacket is different.

Enfield is probably 'the Englishman, Enfield, a hearty jovial man with a "haw, haw" accent, who always wore a monocle' who Belle remembers from the summers in Grez (1876-8), though S definitely had a moustache at that period. Bob Stevenson may have met him while he was at Cambridge (1866-71) and invited him to Edinburgh.

Princeton (Wainwright XVI.8.D)

1868-9 ?


RLS, 3q l profile, wearing a dark velvet jacket with light edging strips, seated on semi-upholstered chair, resting r arm on small table

Photo by J. Moffat, Edinburgh; on the reverse of Yale copy: 'Robert Lewis Stevenson / August 1868.' Balfour (I: 30n) says the change to 'Louis' was made when he was eighteen, so shortly after this photograph was taken.

Yale VS B3 F17, also VS B2 F16a but not an original photo [Hill 54; Vailima Ed 1 (fp)]

1868-9 ?


RLS full-length, wearing a dark velvet jacket with light edging strips and an under-the collar strip tie, standing with forearms crossed (l hand uppermost) and leaning on the back of an elaborate upholstered chair, facing to L of photo, but face turned to camera; studio backdrop shows curtains and painted arched window, ornate console table to the L.

Vailima Ed v. 1, fp (1921) has this photo with the caption ‘aged ninieteen' and 'From a photograph by Fradelle and Young, London’. However, a Moffat carte-de-visite of a gentleman sold on eBay in Oct 2012 has an identical chair, which suggests that this RLS photo is also by Moffat and dates from the same studio session as the one with r arm resting on a small table (especially since hair and clothes seem identical).

TWM [Bm 39, Goudemare 2,Vailima Ed v1] (Vailima Ed v1, cropped to 3/4 length)

1871 c.


Studio portraits (John Moffat, Edinburgh), RLS with velvet coat (broad lapels and edging strips of a lighter colour), light-colored trousers, no moustache, hair parted in the middle: (i) RLS leaning on wooden balustrade, looking r. (ii) without balustrade, looking l. (in the NationalGalleries of Scotland record this is 'about 1874'

In January 1874 RLS writes to his mother "I want you to order some of my photographs from Moffat: the one you like; and send me two or three" (Letters 1: 452). Probably he intends giving them to the Russian ladies he has befriended in Mentone.
These photos have been given various dates:1. c. 1866 for Furnas ('in his middle teens', referring to (i) (caption)); 2. 1868 ʻRobert Lewis Stevenson / August 1868ʼ on the back of copy of (i) at Yale; 3. 1871 ('Age 21, 1871') for Hammerton (38); 4. 1872 (an eBay auction description of Black’s 1898 memoir (formerly owned by the daughter of Lewis Balfour, RLS’s cousin) says it has (i) pasted in the inside cover with the annotation "R.L.B.S. - 1872)"); 5. c. 1874 for National Galleries of Scotland, referring to (ii) A likely date for a series of studio photographs would be November 1871 on the occasion of his 21st birthday.
'A certain, lean, ugly, idle, unpopular student, of changing humours' ('Some College Memories'); Gosse, who met him in the summer of 1870 says 'He was tall, preternaturally lean, with longish hair, and as restless and questing as a spaniel' (qu. Terry 53). Lang (who met him in Feb. 1874) says 'He looked… more like a lass than a lad, with a rather long, smooth oval face, brown hair worn at greater length than is common, large lucid eyes…' (qu. Terry 58).
Photos taken in the period of 'Sketches' (1868-71) and his first essays published in the Edinburgh University Magazine (1871)

(i)TWM, Yale VB B3 F17 (Beinecke 1119188 ) also VS B2 F16a but not an original photo , Nat. Port. Gal. [B&M 1, Hammerton 38, Furnas, Bm 39] (ii) National Gallery of Scotland



RLS head and shoulders, looking l (musingly), clean-shaven, hair centrally-parted and not very long (about halfway down the neck at the back), wide, flat knot of wide-striped tie, double-breasted light-coloured coat with darker collar.

[Simpson R.L. Stevenson's Edinburgh Days, Bm 41, Rice 23]



‘photograph 1874’ listed by M.

TWM, Yale (M)


RLS (with moustache), wearing cloak, taken in Menton 

described by RLS in letters (B & M 1: Ltr 274, 252, 253): 'like a hunchback, but they say it is like me when I am looking at people a little puzzled', 'the moustache is clearly visible to the naked eye' 



RLS wearing advocate’s robes and wig, whispy moustache: (i)  full face, (ii) head slightly turned l

These (and the next few photographs) are from the period of contributions to Portfolio, Macmillan's Magazine, Fortnightly Review, Cornhill Magazine, Academy, Vanity Fair and 'Jean de Beranger' for the Encyclopedia Britannica(1875). For another image that captures his appearance in 1875 see image 1880.1 and note.

(i) [Hammerton 38, Masson 65]

(ii) [Le Bris 15, , Bm 39 USC]

Noy clear which version (or both): TWM, BLY. [Daiches 34]



(i) Oil sketch of RLS with unidentified companion at Fontainebleau by Will Low: in the shade of a tree (forest glade and trees beyond), a young man (not very like S – no moustache, rather chubby cheeks) sitting leaning back against trunk, feet apart, reading; young lady with parasol sitting with legs folded under her looks towards book in the young man’s lap. (ii) Oil painting by Will Low based on this: ‘RLS and his Muse’, where the girl wears a flimsy green dress, has a small book in her hand, has no parasol, and is looking into the air for inspiration.

NB moustache in advocate photo in July 1875 – but may have shaved it off. It is Low who identifies the subject as S ('Robert Louis Stevenson, in the Bas Breau, Fontainbleau, Autumn of 1875', Low: 43); he also says that the sketch is 'the only proof that Louis's hair was ever light' (33), 'very light, almost of the sandy tint' (33)

(i) [Low: 43; Rice: 51; Lübbren: 85]; (ii) Saranac Stevenson Cottage



l profile of RLS (clean-shaven) wearing white felt hat and velvet jacket 

'Called by the family "Lou in the baronet's hat"' (Masson 32); the copy in TWM has written on it in Cummy's hand 'RLS Inland Voyage 1876' and on the back 'in the Cigarette's hat' (Greig), so it is clearly the hat of RLS's 1876 boating companion Sir Walter Simpson (cf. An Inland Voyage). Masson dates this photo to 1866 (? misprint for 1876; but note that the similar 1872:1 (i) photo is assigned to 1866 by Furnas), and Peter Stubbs ( ) says it is RLS “Aged 15” i.e. 1865 (though he attributes the theatrical costume photo to ‘Aged 20’ when it must be later), and Giroud (8) assigns the photo to to 1874 (which may be possible: lack of moustache; RLS was already a friend of Simpson's at that period). The broad-lapelled jacket is the same as in 1872:1. By Edinburgh photographer John Moffat.

TWM, BLY, [Hammerton 38, Masson 33, Bm 39;,]



(painting) RLS lying on his r flank, his head supported on his r hand, reading a book, r leg bent under him, l leg danglng in front of the bank on which he is lying

Yale, GEN MSS 664 box 67, folder 1576), on thick card, is inscribed on the back ‘Portrait of R. L. Stevenson by Fanny V. de G. Osbourne, Fontainebleau, 1876’, but the handwriting is not similar to other samples of Fanny’s handwriting. If genuine, this would date from the first meeting of the couple in Grez, September–October 1876.



self-portrait, 3/4 r, head turned, moustache and waving hair

Furnas says the waving hair and the open-necked costume show that he is 'in theatrical get-up, with wig'. (R.G. Swearingen: 'This hardly looks like a wig to me, nor does the informal dress look like a costume; and personally I have always wondered whether this is a self-portrait at all rather than a sketch possibly of Bob. I don't know where the original is and haven't checked the auction catalogues of the Block collection (Sotheby Parke Bernet, New York, seemingly 29 January 1974, 14-15 February, 29 June 1974). There may be some indication, there, why Furnas thinks this is a self-portrait. For now, I would consider it not proven'.)

coll. of Gordon A. Block jnr (Furnas, but only in the US edition)


Full-length portrait of RLS (with moustache) in theatrical costume - Sir Charles Pomander, a fashionable young fop, in the comedy Art and Nature an adaptation of Masks and Faces by Charles Reade and Tom Taylor. Performed on 21 and 22 May 1877. 

Cf. B & M 2, letter no 471 and footnote; Daiches (120) has the caption 'in costume for Deianira'; this was also perfomed (cf B & M), but this does not seem the right costume for such a part (a messenger in an adaptation of a play by Sophocles). Frances Simson (qu. Masson: 146) says RLS wore 'a court suit of pale blue satin' for the part of Pomander. By Edinburgh photographer John Moffat.

Nearest image (together with 1879:2) to the time of New Arabian Nights, Edinburgh: Picturesque Notes, Travels with a Donkey (all written 1878)

TWM [Neider; Daiches 24; Le Bris 13,]



Drawing by Fanny: RLS with smoking cap, moustache, loose wide tie, one hand visible, resting on arm of the armchair 

Balfour (1901: ii 160) says this is 1877. The frontispiece of Balfour 1901 is this portrait 're-drawn' by Theodore Blake Wirgman, i.e. redrawn as an etching, and used in the Ediburgh Editon and Balfour's Life.

SHM; Mansell Collection (etching from this) [Daiches 43, Mackay, Balfour fp, McLynn]



Half-length portrait of RLS, turned a quarter r but looking at the camera, in embroidered smoking cap, resting head on r hand, loose jacket and wide tie, whispy moustache and tuft below lower lip 

'Stevenson in Barbizon in July 1876, at the time he met Fanny Osbourne' (Giroud 10; though he was in Barbizon in April-May and it is probable he met Fanny in Grez and not in July but in September, B & M 2: 183-4). 

however, RLS, his jacket and smoking cap and haircut seem identical with the following item (foursome, Fontainebleau), which leads to a more probable dating of 1877.
'On his head, he wore a smoking-cap of Indian work, the lace pitifully frayed and tarnished. A flannel shirt of an agreeable dark hue, which the satirical called black; a light tweed coat made by a good English tailor; ready-made cheap linen trousers and leathern gaiters completed his array' ('Epilogue to An Inland Voyage', referring to August 1875). 'He was tall and slight, with light-brown hair, a small golden moustache, and a beautiful ruddy complexion… He wore a funny-looking little round cap… a white flannel shirt, dark trousers and very neat shoes' (Lloyd Osbourne 1924 qu. Terry 81)

Portrait dates from the period of the journey (1876) described in Inland Voyage (1878).




Foursome, Fontainebleau with trees and undergrowth behind; Frank O’Meara, Belle, Fanny and RLS; only Fanny is seated; Frank looks intently at Belle, but the ohers are looking at the ground, as if confused by their own emotions.
in the Forest of Fontainebleau near Grez, probably in 1877 (when RLS was there in both June-July and August-September). The bright sunlight (and our understanding of how things go in stories of falling in love) exclude September-October 1876, when RLS and Fanny first met.
Frank wears the same outfit and cap as in the forest above in the famous 1877 photo taken at the end of the garden of the inn at Grez in company with (standing, L to R) Henley’s painter brother Anthony, Bentz and Chevalier Palazzi in conversation, Bob Stevenson in striped stockings, Ernest Parton, and Walter Simpson’younger brother Willie.

Silverado [Mary Stratton-Ryan (‘L’irrésistible Frank O’Meara’, Artistes du Bout du Monde 6 (automne 2009)]



Woodcut by Walter Crane: RLS in sleeping bag, other scenes from Travels with a Donkey in the background as in medieval narrative paintings; frontispiece to the 1st edition 

[Calder 121, USC

20 June


Drawing by Peter Severin Krøyer: RLS (whispy moustache) Half-length seated portrait:, 3q l, r arm resting in foreground; with RLS signature; dated 'Cernay la ville / 20 juin 79' 

Hirschprung Museum, Copenhagen [B&M 2: fp]; BLYS has a print of this (B3 F37)



RLS half-length portrait (by Bradley and Rolofson, San Francisco): looking slightly l, short hair, moustache curling back under lower lip, high-buttoning smooth-fabric coat, light shirt, knitted tie, arms straight down; photo faded out to white below shoulders and top button of coat 

'1879, after he followed Fanny Osbourne to California' (Mackay 4), 'at the time of his marriage in May 1880' (B & M dustjacket).Subject of a poem by James Whitcomb Riley (Hammerton: 275), 'On a Youthful Portrait of Robert Louis Stevenson': 'A face of youth; a mouth of tender / Sad, human sympathy, yet something stoic / In clasp of lips: wide eyes of calmest splendour, / And brow serenely ample and heroic; -- / The features - all - lit with a soul ideal.... / O visionary boy!'
Will Low (33) says ‘a photograph taken in California, though some years later than our first meeting, preserves much the same aspect as that he had when he stepped from the Calais train on the memorable spring-time morning in 1875’ and reproduces this photo on p. 42 with the caption ‘A youthful portrait of R.L. Stevenson. Preserving his aspect in the days here described’.

Photo from the period of 'The Pavilion on the Links' (written 1878-9, published 1880) and The Amateur Emigrant (written 1879-80); also of Virginibus Puerisque (essays collected and augmented 1880, pub. 1881).

TWM; NLS (GRH.9.[3292]) in the Gorrie coll.; Alfred E. Norman Coll., California Historical Society, San Francisco [B&M 3: fp, Mackay 4, Hammerton fp, Bm 50, harman]



RLS half-length portrait in tweed coat, looking slightly l, arms straight down, dark shirt and almost smiling; hair parted on r, lock of hair slightly raised to r of parting. Photographer: Rich. Friedel, Davos. 

The shirt may be the 'dark' or 'black' shirt that was commented on by himself and by Gosse (qu. Terry 56); Le Bris says 'à l'age de 21 ans' but it fits this TWM description and seems older than 21. The 'almost smiling' or 'half smiling' expression is found in several photos (e.g. Dew-Smith's 1885 photos; also Strang's drawing of 1885/7)- cf. Bernard Jenkins (qu. Masson: 144) 'a smile that was enchanting, the more so perhaps because the corners of his mouth turned down… and his eyes smiled even more than his mouth'. Rice says 'taken as he was about to embark for California', which would be 1879, but this looks like a mistake. M dates this as 1882. 'The photographs came, many thanks to you, but I cannot remember whether you told me what they cost or not. Will you please? At Freidel's Louis had some photographs taken. Would you kindly have half a dozen struck off from the old negative and keeping one fopr yourself, send the rest to Mrs Stevenson, 17 Heriot Row, Edonburgh with the bill' (Letters 4, 25; Nov 1882, from Fanny to Elizabeth Macmorland).

Photo from the period of 'Thrawn Janet', 'The Body Snatcher', 'The Merry Men' and Treasure Island (written 1881); also of The Silverado Squatters (rewritten 1882) and 'The Treasure of Franchard' (written 1882).

TWM (copy given to Mrs MacMorland)[Le Bris 14, Rice 63 (in an oval)]

?1882 ?1883


RLS half-length portrait: looking slightly left, high-buttoned coat of rough cloth, light shirt, 'satin' tie, smoothed-down hair, small tuft of beard below lower lip 

'in the early 1880s' (B & M dustjacket); 1881 for JoH; 'probably also taken at Davos' (Greig). Possibly one of the photographs sent from Davos by Miss Macmorland in 1882 (Letters 4, 25). It could be the ‘photograph 1880-84’ listed by M in the Oxford DNB entry.

If this is 1883, then it is the period of Prince Otto and The Black Arrow, 'A Penny Plain' (written 1883)

TWM [B&M 4: fp, McLynn]

14 July-16 August


Royat photograph: studio portrait of family group in a photographer’s set (mountains in the background, stone house with projecting steps to the L): youthful-looking Fanny (43) in dark dress (seemingly corseted) and high lace collar standing L, an adolescent Lloyd (just 15) gazing vaguely at the camera to the R of centre; in front on them and sitting: Thomas Stevenson (with stick in r hand, jacket buttoned on top button) and Margaret Stevenson in long dark dress; in front and L, RLS on the ground, leaning on steps with r elbow, knees drawn up, holding dog on his lap between his arms. RLS has central parting to hair and light double-breasted jacket.

Fanny noted that during this holiday together it was evident to them that Thomas Stevenson’s health was beginning to fail.

At Royat Stevenson was working on The Black Arrow and correcting the proofs for the book version of Treasure Island.

Silverado Museum [Midori 2000: 133]



(i) RLS, sting, with straw hat and light-coloured double-breasted jacket; (ii) RLS in same clothes, L, Fanny in light-colored dress and broad-brimmed hat, with a fan in her lap, between and behind them, Lloyd

RLS seems to be wearing the same jacket as in a group studio portrait with his parents, Fanny and Lloyd (and Woggs the dog), taken in Royat, where they had met up in July- August 1883.
Lloyd, 15 in the Royat photo, is clearly older here (which may be well one of his own early experiments in photography and the delayed exposure device). It is warm weather (note the fan); RLS looks rather ʻwashed-outʼ. If Lloyd is 16, then it might date from the very end of the Hyères period in May-June 1884 with RLS not very well.
In the Royat photo RLSʼs jacket is buttoned in the normal fashion for menʼs clothes. The Silverado photo could be reversed, or RLS has simply draped the double-breasted jacket the other way.

Robert Louis Stevenson Silverado Museum



Woodcut frontispiece to the 1st edition of The Silverado Squatters by Joe Strong: RLS and Fanny at Silverado; RLS in bunk seen from behind, writing on lifted knees, Fanny sitting on stool writing or sketching by rough table 

[Calder 145, Daiches 51, Le Bris 19] 



RLS writing at a table of Skerryvore, Bournmouth: photo taken by Lloyd Osbourne catching RLS by surprise as he looks up, pen in right hand, overcoat draped over his shoulders, behind are bay windows 

One of the 'portraits which most recall Stevenson to me' (Guthrie 54); 'happy accidents of lighting, attitude, and expression' (Colvin, qu. Guthrie 54). 'The best of his photographs is… a veritable "snapshot", taken by Lloyd Osbourne who, then of school-boy age, was playing with a camera, and calling on Stevenson to look up, caught him unawares' (Low 1908 qu. Srtern 1948:182)). The engraving from it is by Henry Wolf.  

Adelaide Boodle (1926 qu. Terry 101) says that at Bournmouth his velvet coat and dark red tie 'became to many of us almost like a part of his actual personality'.

Photo (along with the following) from the period of Jekyll and Hyde and 'Olalla' (written late 1885)

BLYS (B4 F49, also in Oversize B9, print and orig. glass negative) [B&M 5: fp; Roger Swearingen’s site; Giroud 13]; the engraving from this in TWM and in BLY



half-length photograph of S lying in bed (head R ), looking to his right, with l elbow leaning on a pillow and l hand supporting his cheek, something like a dark shawl around his shoulders.

The informal pose and chiaroscuro effects reminds one of the Bournemouth photograph by Lloyd of RLS looking up from writing.

Stevenson Cottage Museum, Saranac Lake, NY [reproduced in The Lark [San Francisco], No. 2 (June 1896), with the caption 'from a photograph taken by Mrs. Stevenson at Bournemouth in 1885'.]


Portraits taken in Cambridge by amateur photographer Albert George Dew-Smith: (i) Head and shoulders portrait RLS 3q r, hair brushed back, half-smiling, dark background and dim lighting; a thin chord round the neck crosses each side of the shirt collar; (ii) Half-length portrait, RLS 3q r, hair-parting on r , looking down to roll a cigarette, black velvet jacket with edging, small signet ring on 1st finger of l hand and wedding ring on 3rd finger; thin chord crosses shirt collar and r lapel of jacket. 

(i) 'comes nearer to the original in character and expression than any other portrait' (Colvin qu. Masson 112). 'no other recalls so perfectly the Stevenson I knew' (J. Alfred Ewing qu. Masson 112), it is 'like you [Bob Stevenson], drunk; very odd, it has your nose instead of mine' (B & M Ltr 1468). Dew-Smith, a fellow-member of the Savile Club, is supposed to have inspired Attwater in The Ebb-Tide in his 'soft and deliberate manner of speech' and his 'somewhat foreign urbanity of bearing' (Colvin qu. B&M 3: 115n)

(ii) was a photograph that actor Nigel Planer kept and put on his wall: 'Charismatic, mesmeric even, in my picture he looks as wild as a sixties rock star — no, more intelligent than that — he looks like a radical, long-haired Bohemian who has just broken off a passionate conversation for a moment to roll a fag, and will continue the next thought in one second [...] What I saw in the photo was all the contradictions I most aspired to when in my twenties; sensitivity with courage, piercing intelligence with boyish naivety, sartorial elegance with romantic ill health.' (Nigel Planer, 'Death of Long Pig', Journal of Stevenson Studies 10 (2013), 187.

[(i) Bookman special No. 1913: 93;; Masson 112; Grosskurth 231; print from the photograph in BLYS (B4 F60) Roger Swearingen’s site, (ii) Rice 93; cover of Emigrante per diletto, 1987]

One of these is in the Nat. Port Gallery, the other in the U. of Texas, Gernsheim Collection (M)



Charcoal sketch of RLS by John Singer Sargent (head and shoulders, full face) with luxuriant moustache and imperial tuft M dates this ‘1885?’

BLY 1952.36.3 [Giroud 19; Roger Swearingen’s site]



Two sketches in charcoal on the same sheet of RLS walking apparently preparatory sketches for the August 1885 painting.

Fogg Museum, University of Harvard



Portrait, in oils, of Stevenson by John Singer Sargent, Bournemouth, August 1885 - RLS pacing L, Fanny seated in background R, open door between. 

'Sargent's half grotesque but speaking portrait' (Guthrie 54); 'walking about and talking is his [Sargent's] main notion' for the painting (Ltr 1354). Described by RLS in Ltr 1473. An earlier portrait by Sargent (December 1884) does not seem to have survived, possibly destroyed by Fanny (see B & M Ltrs1327, 1352 and n). This one apparently was appreciated, as it is said to have been hung in both Skerryvore and Vailima. Gosse (qu. Masson: 75) says only two portraits resemble him: this 'curious, vivid, almost grotesque sketch' and the medallion by Saint-Gaudens (see under 1877). Full details at the John Singer Sargent Virtual Gallery Claire Harman says ‘The unconventional arrangement of the figures gives the effect of a viewfinder having moved out of its original alignment, as the eye of the beholder follows the movements of the pacing figure. The effect is of restless motion, “caged” indeed in this domestic prison’ (Robert Louis Stevenson. A Biography (2005), p. 178.)

'Often when he got animated he rose and walked about as he spoke, as if movement aided thought and expression' (Japp 1905 qu. Terry 93).

Private collection, New York (John Hay Whitney Collection) 1914-2004: sold May 2004 to Steve Wynn (to be displayed from 2005 at the Steve Wynn Las Vegas Resort and Country Club); sold 2008 to Wal-Mart heiress Alice Walton. It will displayed in new The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art presently under construction at Bentonville, in the north-west corner of Akansas. [Daiches 60, USC]



Letter from Fanny to Colvin (Beinecke 3651 bound in 3638, McKay dates it December 1885)– "her [Mrs Jenkin’s] son, Frewin, took some photographs of Louis, one of which is rather like, but over-beautiful, Christ walking on the waters, as Lady Shelley said. Dear old Sir Percy took a number, one or two of which I think really very good… It is very odd that while one represents an angel, the devil must have posed for another, so ghastly, impishly wicked, and malignant is it. Plainly Jekyll and Hyde." (E. V. Lucas (1928). The Colvins and their Friends. NY: Scribner’s, p166)

If the Frewin Jenkin photos have survived they haven’t been identified as by him.




Three-quarter length, full face portrait with calm, short brushed-down hair, expressionless face, wrapped in a cloak that is draped over the l shoulder

 “A hitherto-unpublished portrait of Robert Louis Stevenson, reproduced form a photograph in the possession of Clayton Hamilton. This picture was taken in Bournemouth, between 1884 and 1887. The original was given by Stevenson himself to William Ernest Henley, who gave it to Brander Matthews, who gave it to the present owner. The card on which the photograph is mounted bears the words ‘Robert Louis Stevenson, Skerryvore, Bournemouth’ in Stevenson’s handwriting. No other copy is know to be in existence” (Clayton Hamilton, On the Trail of Stevenson (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, Page and Company, 1916), p. 149). Illustrated on the DJ of Hart’s From Scotland to Silverado, the credit on the back cover credits the Berg Collection New York Public Library as present location.

This could be the (?) December 1885 photo by Frewin Jenkins referred to by Fanny as ‘rather like, but over-beautiful, Christ walking on the waters’ (‘her [Mrs Jenkin’s] son, Frewin, took some photographs of Louis, one of which is rather like, but over-beautiful, Christ walking on the waters, as Lady Shelley said. Dear old Sir Percy took a number, one or two of which I think really very good… It is very odd that while one represents an angel, the devil must have posed for another, so ghastly, impishly wicked, and malignant is it. Plainly Jekyll and Hyde.’ (E. V. Lucas (1928). The Colvins and their Friends. NY: Scribner’s, p166; Beinecke 3651 bound in 3638, McKay dates it December 1885), or the second (the non-sitting-down one) or third photo by Sir Percy Shelley since the cloak is the same as the half-length seated portrait – but Fanny’s comments suggest a joint session by the two amateur photographers, so the clothes would have been the same..

Berg Collection, NYPL [Hamilton 1916: 149; James D. Hart, From Scotland to Silverado (1966), dustwrapper; Roger Swearingen’s site – scroll down to 4th and 5th image]

Dec. or Jan. 1886


Portraits by Bournemouth neighbour Sir Percy Shelley: (i) half-length seated portrait, sitting astride a chair leaning on its curved back looking to his r, wearing cloak, background apparently a paper sheet; (ii) another (not sitting); (iii) body turned 3/4 R, head turned 3/4 L (i.e. looking over his r shoulder), shirt collar just showing under cloak, thin lock of hair falling towards l eye (this is the source of the 1888 Wyatt Eaton drawing)

Cf. B & M 5: 176-7 & 177n; M (2004) lists as ‘P. Shelley … 1884/5?’ the following photographs:
(i) in The Bookman Extra Number (1913: 57) (the half-length seated portrait), (ii) in U. Taylor Guests and Memories (1924: facing p. 365)., (iii) the photo exists in a 3/4 length version (private collection, France) with an inscription on the back ‘Robert Louis Stevenson / to / Will H. Low. / from phot. by Sir Percy Shelley Bart.', and also in a cropped version published in McClure's Magazine in 1894 and again in Feb. 1895.

RLS says 'The sitting down one is, I think, the best' (B & M 5: 177). Letter from Fanny to Colvin (Beinecke 3651 bound in 3638, McKay dates it December 1885)– "her [Mrs Jenkin’s] son, Frewin, took some photographs of Louis, one of which is rather like, but over-beautiful, Christ walking on the waters, as Lady Shelley said. Dear old Sir Percy took a number, one or two of which I think really very good… It is very odd that while one represents an angel, the devil must have posed for another, so ghastly, impishly wicked, and malignant is it. Plainly Jekyll and Hyde." (E. V. Lucas (1928). The Colvins and their Friends. NY: Scribner’s, p166).

Harman’s caption says ‘1886 or ‘87’.

Photo from the period of The Dynamiter (mostly written 1884/5), 'A Humble Remonstrance', 'Markheim' (written 1884)

(i) [Hammerton 76, Bm 57, Harman]; (ii) ***; (iii) C. ***]

'Photograph by Sir Percy Shelley', BLYS (B4 F66)

(ii)  may be in the Library of Congress (Prints and Photographs Division), see

(iii) the photo exists in a 3/4 length version (private collection, France) with an inscription on the back ‘Robert Louis Stevenson / to / Will H. Low. / from phot. by Sir Percy Shelley Bart.', and also in a cropped version published in McClure's Magazine in 1894 and again in Feb. 1895.



Photo by J. Patrick, Edinburgh: RLS half-length, facing camera but head turned 3/4 r, folded arms, r hand showing with ring on 1st finger, black velvet jacket with edging (narrow lapels), shirt collar slightly twisted and tie slightly loose; hair length seems similar to that of Bournmouth photos, hooked behind ear, moustache slightly bushy.

Quite youthful appearance, so perhaps c 1885 or earlier

prob. among photos of 'RLS by J. Patrick' BLYS (B4 F57-8) [Bm 53], NLS



Self-portrait pen-and-ink sketch: standing with r hand touching open book on a table; door and ornate drapery behind.

'An appreciation of self - drawn by me from a mirror's reflection. Robert Louis Stevenson' ; not very like.

William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, Los Angeles [Saturday Review of Literature, April 17, 1926 (v. 2, no. 38); Barry Menikoff, Robert Louis Stevenson and 'The Beach of Falesa': A Study in Victorian Publishing (1984), p. 99]



Self-portrait pen-and-ink sketch: half-length seated  (3 q r, but turned towards viewer), r hand held in l hand, r elbow leaning on a closed book on draped table in front of him (which also has inkwell and pen)

signed 'Yours most sincerely Robert Louis Stevenson', strangely un-like.

Princeton University Library, XIII, 34. [Alexander Wainwright, Robert Louis Stevenson: A Catalogue (1971)]

10 August


Portrait painting (sketch in oils) by Sir William Blake Richmond: half-length, seated turned 3q r but facing viewer, wearing velvet jacket and with shoulder-length hair 

painted in one sitting 10 Aug. 1886 (B & M 5: 301), at Richmond's house in Hammersmith, on a hot afternoon, amid a jovial company including Sidney Colvin, Edward Burne-Jones and Burne-Jones' daughter, Margaret. The latter recalled their lively conversation: 'They discussed suicide; compared notes as to their feelings towards policemen; told ghost stories; and most of the time Mr. Richmond painted, and Mr. Stevenson sat easily talking, smoking, and drinking coffee'. Full description in NLS MS 9894 ff. 251-9. ‘When the painting was over he got up whenever he was moved at all, & walked about with his hands in his trouser pockets & his shoulders high’ (f258 – reminiscent of the Sargent ‘walking’ portrait of 1885. ‘He word check trousers, a black velvet coat & a red tie, under a turn down collar’ (f 258). This account is then repeated in an article in The Observer, Sunday Nov. 11th1928, with further details. See also The Richmond Papers (ed. A.M.W. Stirling (1926), pp. 321-4, and The Observer 1.1.1928.

Wilfred Meynell says this - like most of the painted portraits (except that by Sargent) - does not show the man as he knew him; like the Strang drawing it is 'fixed, plethoric' while S's face was 'buoyant and lightly carried off' (qu. Hammerton 1910: 144)

National Portrait Gallery, London [Calder 197, Hammerton 331, Daiches fp, Bm 129]


Four Bournemouth photos (by W. J. Hawker of No. 1 Gervis Buildings, Bournemouth), all with RLS wearing a velvet jacket and a black crepe armband in memory of his uncle David Stevenson who died 17 September 1886.

 i) threequarter length, RLS (l profile, shoulder-length hair, curving moustache) half-seated on table covered with heavy floral patterned drape that also hangs down from the L, r hand leaning on the table, l hand placed on r leg;
ii) RLS seated 3q r (but looking at the camera) across a wicker armchair, r hand half-raised with cigarette, l hand (rings on 1st and 3rd fingers) resting on l leg, simple drapery background;
iii) half-length with arms folded; 
head turned ¾ r, long hair hooked and curving behind ears, large knot of tie pushed slightly r, arms crossed (r hand disappears into l sleeve of velvet jacket (with edging strips and mourning band), bushy and curving moustache, lock of hair detached over l brow, neutral background.
iv) half-length (3 q r) , seated at small table with quill pen in r hand, small book in table, and l forearm leaning along the table, face and eyes looking up

(i) at least was supplied with a white strip below for signing and sending to correspondents. Concerning the pose in (i), Furnas caption says the photo shows a 'poetic pose appropriate for the literary man' ; however, Japp (1905 qu. Terry 93) says 'A favourite and characteristic attitude with him was… to sit, or rather to half sit, half lean, on the corner of a table or a desk, one of his legs swinging freely'. 'His long dark hair straggles with an irregular wave down to his neck, a wisp of it occasionally falling over his ear and having to be replaced with a light gesture of the hand. He is dressed in a black velvet jacket, showing at the throat the loose rolling collar of a white flannel shirt' (William Archer 1887 qu. Terry 106). Rice (97) says that (ii) is 'almost the same pose as the Sargent painting [1887.1], but more pensive and less animated'. Vailima Ed says this is S 'age thirty-nine', but this is a mistake.

Could one of these be the photograph referred to by Will Low (Low 1908, qu. Stern1948: 182) as 'taken by a professional photographer, which we charged him with secretly loving and sending to all the young women who wrote to express their admiration of his work; "a fine, chicken-hearted presentment of a young poet" he owned it to be, half-confessing to this weakness, in which he was wholly abetted by his mother, with whom it was a favourite picture". M only lists 2 Hawker photos.

Photo from the same year as Kidnapped (written in the first half of 1886).

(i) TWM, BLYS [Hammerton 290, Furnas, Bm 63, McLynn;]; (ii) TWM, NLS (Adv.MS.21.6.10), BLY Uncat MS Vault [Rice, 97, Scally 7]; (iii) TWM, NLS (MS 9907, No. 112) [Vailima Ed v10 (1922) , Goudemare 24]; (iv) Una Taylor, Guests and Memories: Annals of a Seaside Villa (1924), facing p. 365 (where it is identified, probably wrongly, as 'From a photograph by Sir Percy Shelley').

BLYS also has 'Photographs by W.I. Hawker, one signed by RLS' (B3 F31)



woodcut portrait by T. Johnson 

RLS like this and asked Scribner’s to send copies to people in America and wanted 20 copies for himself and 12 large paper proofs (B & M 5: 229)

The Book Buyer (March 1886); BLYS (B4 F62) has 'RLS by T. Johnson, print' 



Engraving (from drawing) by William Strang: 3q l profile, head and shoulders; shoulder-length hair covering the back of the jacket collar, curving moustaches, ‘impérial’ tuft below lower lip; slight smile. 

Strang went to Skerryvore (on a commission from a London editor) to do Stevenson's portrait (Neil Munro in Bookman Extra Number 1913). In 1893 he produced an etching that corresponds to the above description, the drawing he made on his visit. RLS (sitting in a wing-chair) was with his cousin Bob, who strode up and down the room, talking brilliantly. While Strang sketched, RLS was telling his cousin about a dream he'd had the previous night in which he'd been chased through a forest by angry archers. (Strang's account as told to Munro is also in Lois Stott (1992). Robert Louis Stevenson and the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. Milton-of-Aberfoyle: Creag Darach Publications.) . B&M dates this as 1887 and M dates the engraving as 1893.

Wilfred Meynel (qu. Hammond 1910: 144) says this portrait is 'fixed, plethoric' in contrast to the 'buoyant' nature of S.

Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin (M has BM – for British Museum, or perhaps British Library). A copy of the 1893 etching is in the Osbourne Collection and is reproduced on the SLAINTEStevenson page and on another page; 'print by William Strang' in BLYS (B4 F54); [Robert Louis Stevenson: A Bookman Extra Number (1913), p. 96; cover of Stott 1992]


Portrait, in oils, of Stevenson by John Singer Sargent, Bournemouth, April 1887 - seated in basket chair, l leg over r, cigarette in r hand 

commissioned by Charles Fairchild, a Boston banker; 'one hand that is finished expresses all of Louis' (Fanny, Ltr 1799); NLS (MS 9907, No. 137) has erroneous annotation identifying it with the 1884 portrait (see Letters, note to Ltr 1799). The Art Renewal Center offers fine prints of this portrait. It can be supplied in four sizes on photo-quality paper (the larger sizes on board) costs range from $45 upwards. All sizes are shipped flat.

Taft Museum, Cincinnati [USC]

late Sept.


Bas-reliefs by Augustus St. Gaudens: (i) bronze portrait medallion; (ii) RLS seated in bed with three pillows behind and writing on lifted knees, cigarette in right hand; the work also contains Stevenson's poem 'Youth Now Flees on Feathered Foot'; the head is based on the original portrait, the rest from a sitting on 27 May 1888. Of the latter there are several versions: (i) rectangular (first) version, (ii) circular version, (iii) plaster casts (full-sized and reduced) from both versions. 

'The most satisfactory of the portraits of Stevenson' (Graham Balfour qu. Guthrie 54); Gosse places it with Sargent's portrait as the only two that give a real impression of S; 'Fanny's favourite likeness of her husband', 'The invalid is wearing his old red poncho' (Mackay 8). The letter RLS wrote to the sculptor's son during the 1888 sitting (which can therefore be seen as the sheet on which RLS is writing in the sculpture) is in Letters 6: 196.

An altered version of St. Gaudens’ tondo was made for St. Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh 1899-1902: made into a rectangle, bed becomes chaise longue, blanket becomes a travelling rug, pen replaces cigarette; the background inscription is changed to part of one of S's 'Vailima Prayers'. Unveiled June 1904. 

A. Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, New Hampsire; John Hay Whitney Collection, New York; Jardins du Luxembourg, Paris; BLY (3 RLS works by St. G.: 1952.36.6 (bronze), 7 (plaster), 8 (plaster)), also BLYS (Oversize B9 F131); National Portrait gallery (Tate Coll.)[Bridgeman Art Library; Calder 243, Hammerton 306, Daiches 73, Bm 161] 

28-30 Sept.


Studio portraits by W. Notman of New York:
(i) three-quarter length, leaning to the r and resting on r forearm, with cigarette in r hand, l hand in trouser pocket with wrist and thumb visible, wearing black velvet jacket with edging strips;
(ii) 'Writing portrait': almost full-length, seated, RLS (body facing camera but looking slightly to his l) pen in r hand, learning with forearms on a small table with double glass inkstand, r hand poised to write, l hand steadying sheet of paper; velvet jacket, broad tie, striped trousers; drapery background.
(ii.a) half-length engraving derived from 'the writing portrait' by Samuel Hollyer (1826 - 1919), sold as a separate print and also frontispiece to the edition of Virginibus Puerisque pub. by Putnam (New York, c. 1908).
(iii) a second 'writing portrait': half-length, body turned slightly r, looking at camera, holding sheets in l hand (high-buttoned black velvet jacket with border strips; dramatic lighting of r side of face, additional lighting from l of l hand and edge of sheets). Wallpaper background (clear diamond shape with leafy pattern inside, to R of S's head).

The first is probably 'the Boston photograph' that Baxter thinks 'the best of all',  presented to the Edinburgh Academy (B & M 7: 351n); 'a favourite portrait of Robert Louis Stevenson' (Hammerton 140) . M dates this ‘1887-8’. However, ‘Almost all the known copies of this photograph are in mounts by Notman’s Boston studio—a fact from which it is sometimes mistakenly assumed that the photographs were taken there’ (Swearingen: xviii). (RLS was never in Boston.) Probably from September 1887, ‘just before rather than after his residence in Saranac Lake’ (Swearingen: xix).

A copy sold at Auction by Sotherby’s of London described as ‘[Notman of Boston], platinum print (240 x 175 mm.)’, adding ‘The photographer and date of the sitting are provided by another image from the same series, held at Stevenson House, Monterey, California, and reproduced as the frontispiece to The Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson: Volume Six, ed B.A. Booth and E. Mehew (New Haven, 1995)’ and ‘previously, and incorrectly, … attributed to Alice Boughton’.

'The upper part [of his face], extraordinarily broad between the eyes, was deerlike in its gentle serenity, but the lower part, very narrow in comparison, was almost fox-like in its keen alertness; and the mobility of the mouth seemed to fit with the steady intentness of the wide, dark eyes ' (van Rensselaer 1895 of a meeting in spring 1888, qu. Terry 120).

1887 photos are from the time of the beginning of The Master of Ballantrae (written 1887-9).

(i) SHM; Silverado Museum; (ii) Silverado Museum, TWM, BLYS (M).

[(i) B&M 6: fp; Hulton Archives; illustration from this by Fairfax Muckley in Black and White 1891 (in serial publication of ‘The South Seas’); another illustration from this in Hammerton 140]

[(ii): Daiches 1947: fp; (ii.a)]

[(iii) [cover of Cooper Square US reprint of Treglown's anthology of essays The Lantern Bearers (1999).],]


1887 Nov-Dec (c. 20 Nov. – 7 Dec.)


Saranac, group on veranda of the Baker Cottage: (L to R) Valentine Roch, local maid, Lloyd Osbourne, Fanny (behind Sport, the large dog), RLS (long Buffalo fur coat, Indian boots, fur hat), behind him a post with a thermometer, sun coming from R. Some snow on the boards of the veranda.

The fur coats were bought by Fanny in Montreal and brought to Saranac at end of October 1887, the first snow came about 20 November, Fanny left for New York on 8 December. In a letter of 2 Dec. (letter 1955) Stevenson refers to the previous afternoon when there was ‘a bright sun’ (as in the photo) and the temperature was 10°F (i.e. 22° below freezing), so possibly the photo was taken on the afternoon of 1st December 1887.

TWM [Calder 232, Mackay 9, Daiches 71, Knight (cropped) 15, Le Bris 28, McLynn, Harman]



(i) head and shoulder pen-and-ink drawing (9 1/8 in. wide by 11 1/8 in. high;  signed ‘Wyatt Eaton 1888’): facing l but head turned to look r, r side of face shaded; romantic looking. (ii) slightly touched-up reproduction in US newspapers (iii) ‘Engraved by Clark & Geiger’

The drawing was commissioned from Eaton, a friend from Barbizon days, by the publisher S. S. McClure. The newspaper version has lines ‘thickened and added here and there, especially in the chest and shoulders’ (Swearingen xiii). Charlotte Eaton says it was made from memory in a few minutes. Swearingen (xvi) says that Eaton may also have used one or more of the photographs taken by Sir Percy Shelley in Dec. 1885 or Jan 1885, or the standing cloaked portrait taken at the same time (by Shelley or Frewin Jenkin).

(i) Silverado (original drawing) [reproduced on cover, McClure’s Magazine, Feb. 1995 Hellman 102]; (ii) Philadelphia Press 24 March 1888 (copy of this in Scrapbook, Monterey); (iii) The Art Student June 1895, 458-9 (Princeton IX.33) [repro. In A Last Memory of Robert Louis Stevenson (1936) and in Stevenson at Manasquan by Eaton’s wife, Charlotte (Swearingen: xv)



RLS, Catholic missionary (Père Bruno Shouten) and Fanny on the steps of the house of Ori-a-Ori, Tautira, Tahiti; (i) at the back door, S sits near top, trousers; barefoot, l elbow leaning on floor of veranda, r hand above hip wearing a loose undershirt and a cotton lava-lava; F sits lower with long loose enveloping dress of striped cloth and downturned mouth; missionary stands leaning on walking stick in r hand.

On another occasion, RLS wearing pareu: (ii) at the front door, all sitting on the top stone step: Fanny, RLS (in pareu), Père Bruno (stick in r hand, hat in l hand); (iii) Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyd at Ori's back door (both wear floral pareus); (iv) RLS, Lloyd and young boy (Paerai) in a village street; (v) RLS with Ori and other Tahitian friends; (vi) Three slave girls pèresented to the Stevenson party (uncertain place and date)

First set taken by Lloyd with his disk camera.

(i) TWM [McLynn pl 24; Colley p. 137] ; (ii) TWM; (iii) TWM; (iv) TWM; (v) TWM; (vI) TWM



RLS shaving, standing at the creeper-surrounded door of a wooden house (vertical boards), picket fence and entrance R. 




Engraving from a charcoal sketch by J.W. Alexander in Century Magazine: head (leaning r) resting on r hand (long index finger placed along cheek)

'Engraved by J. H. E. Whitney, from a drawing by J. W. Alexander' RLS comments on Alexander's visit in a letter to his mother, 6 July 1886: 'Mr Alexander, a very pleasant, simple fellow and a firstrate draughtsman, is here doing my portrait for the Century Mag.' (L5, 276, with following note: 'John White Alexander (1856-1915), American painter, had been commissioned by the Century Magazine […] to make a portrait of RLS. His drawing was reproduced in the issue for April 1886, with Henry James’s essay.' James’s essay on RLS was published in the Century Magazine of April 1888.)

 Century Magazine, April 1888, p. 868 (used as an illustration in Henry James's essay on RLS)



Self portrait on board the Casco: l hand on hip, r hand on side of the boat, neat hair, short tie, sash round the waist.

So June 1888 to January 1889. Sent to ‘Cummy’ on her birthday in 1892.

Beinecke [Colley p. 139]



Forward deck of the Casco; two men in the prow, RLS sitting on deck near the deckhouse (L), wearing white yachting cap; mast and boom and other crew-member, L.

[Knight 29]



(i) RLS and family in front of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, Honolulu; the group seems to include RLS standing (white trousers, dark jacket, cap), his mother seated in front of him, Lloyd in white (with cap, arms folded), Fanny further R and seated. (ii) Very similar photo, with the man on the R of the carriage behind the main group now turned away from the camera.

(i) Edinburgh City Libraries [Knight 92]; (ii) ?



RLS and family sitting round a table in the lanai of the Brown residence, Honolulu. 




Two group photographs by Williams of Honolulu, probably taken in Manuia Lanai (the Waikiki bungalow rented by RLS, January to June 1889): (i) a musical evening - RLS, Prof. M.M. Scott (flute), Fanny, Belle (piano), Lloyd (violin), Captain Otis (violin), Mrs M. Stevenson, Henry Poor; (ii) interior of the lanai with veranda in background, family group around table: RLS L, wearing spectacles, with feet on another chair (soft jacket with thin stripes), Lloyd (broad striped blazer), Belle (standing) and Fanny (resting head on r hand) on far side of table, Margaret Stevenson R, sewing piece of local cloth.

The lanai is described by S (letter to Colvin c.8 March 1889) as the 'open room or summer parlour, partly surrounded with venetian shutters, in part quite open'. The BLY Catalogue wrongly identifies these as showing Vailima; (i) is identified in TWM's album as 'musical evening Waikiki' (Greig). Photos taken before Margaret Stevenson's departure (10 May).

The original glass negatives of both these photographs are in the Stevenson House collection, Monterey (Box 35).
(i) TWM (, BLY, BLYS (B4 F56); (ii) BLY [Knight 109, Rice 106]



RLS and family around a table in the evening playing cards (by Williams of Honolulu): the players are Belle (r profile, smiling, cards in r hand), RLS (blazer with thin stripes, holding cards with both hands together), Fanny (holding cards spread in both hands); to the L moustachioed man (r profile, Henry Poor), standing between RLS and Fanny is Lloyd (broad-striped blazer seen in other photos).

An interesting photo taken in a dark interior with strong illumination from the R Caldwell (1960) says man on L is Joe Strong but this must be a mistake. Harman identifies this as ‘c1892’ (i.e. from the Samoan period, not Waikiki, though Lloyd’s blazer is found in other 1889 photos)

The original glass negatives of this photograph is in the Stevenson House collection, Monterey (Box 35).
(i) University of Oklahoma [Knight 123, Harman]

(ii) Strong, Isobel (1896). ‘Vailima Table-Talk. Robert Louis Stevenson in his Home Life’. Scribner’s Magazine 19 (5) (May 1896): 536.



Waikiki, RLS in bed in striped pyjama jacket (by Williams of Honolulu): (i) sitting up in bed playing a flageolet, music propped against raised knees; mosquito net pulled back, triangular corner-shelf above his head (there may be a second photo taken immediately before or after [with slightly different angle of the flute, eyes less open], but this may be an impression given by reproductions)

(ii) RLS (head and shoulders, 3/4 l, r profile) in striped pyjama jacket (no buttons) below a shelf with two bottles; RLS is on the L of the photo and on the R is a moustachioed man (identified as Robert Macfie),  l profile This version in Knight, however, seems to be a cropped version of (iii) with a shadow created to exclude Lloyd Osbourne’s head. The version in TWM (not seen) may be (iii).

(iii) RLS  in an apparently identical position to (ii), with Robert Macfie also in an identical position sitting on the bed R and Lloyd sitting on the ground between them (in the broad-striped blazer found in other Honolulu photographs, cigarette in l hand).

Fanny mentions that S at Tautira in Dec. 1888 spent much time in the open air 'a simple pyjama suit of striped flannel his only dress' (qu. Terry 78).

The original glass negatives of both these photographs are in the Stevenson House collection, Monterey (Box 35).
(i) TWM, BLYS (B4 F56) [Hammerton 160, Daiches 99, Knight 70, Le Bris 29, McLynn pl. 33, Harman]

(ii) TWM [Knight 87]

(iii) (Search: Robert Louis Stevenson)



RLS and family around a table in the evening talking on the far side of a table. L-R: Fanny (r elbow on table, hand on cheek, r profile), Margaret Stevenson (further behind, r profile with widow's cap), RLS (r profile, thin-striped jacket, fingers of l hand touching chest), Belle (further back, full face), bearded visitor (l profile, l elbow on table, holding cigarette). Title 'After dinner at Waikiki, Hawaii. Drawn by Oziaz Dodge from a photograph.'

(i) is an interesting photo taken in a dark interior with strong illumination from the R Caldwell (1960) says man on L is Joe Strong but this must be a mistake. Harman wrongly identifies this as 'c1892' (i.e. from the Samoan period, not Waikiki, though Lloyd's blazer is found in other 1889 photos)

(Strong, Isobel (1896). 'Vailima Table-Talk. Robert Louis Stevenson in his Home Life'. Scribner's Magazine 19 (5) (May 1896): 536.



Family group in garden, Honolulu: Ah Fu (squatting), RLS (in white and white cap, semi-recumbent), Fanny (loose dark dress and flower behind ear, sitting), Lloyd (striped blazer, sitting); behind them, Mrs Margaret Stevenson and Belle Strong (both with leaf garlands).

Lloyd Osbourne (1924 qu. Knight 110) says that in Hawaii Stevenson wore a 'soft white shirt, blue serge coat, white flannel trousers and white yachting cap (such caps were his favourites till his death)'. This was the 'white broad-peaked yachting cap' (Clarke 1921 of S's arrival in Samoa in Dec. 1889, qu. Terry 165), and visible in several later photographs. (In The Wong Box (finished in Hawaii), Ch 2, Joseph Finsbury wears "a vizarded forage-cap".)

TWM ([Mackay, Furnas]



S turned ¼ r, looking away from camera, smiling, l hand with wedding ring raised to l side of moustache, hair parted on r, hooked behind ear; spotting of plate.

taken by Lloyd; Caldwell: ‘Courtesy Lucy Orr Vahrenkamp; placed in 1889 as this seems a year of photographic experiments by Lloyd.




With King Kalakaua, Honolulu: (i) RLS seated on wooden chair, King (white suit) in armchair, RLS (l leg over r, looking at camera) wearing a lei and coat over his shoulders; (ii) Lloyd (in white), RLS (dark jacket, apparently tugging at moustache with r hand) and King (in white suit as in (i)), seated at round table, many pictures on the wall, servants standing to R behind; (iii) RLS, Kalakaua and others.

(i) and (ii) are apparently the same day and would seem to be in the Palace rather than in the boathouse; (iii) is the description provided by Elaine Greig of TWM. Number (ii) (if cropped to exclude M. Stevenson by Knight) or maybe (iii) could be the one referred to in S's letter to Colvin (8 March 1889): 'You should see a photograph of our party after an afternoon [drinking] with H[is] [Hawaiian] M[ajesty]: my! what a crew! The proud drunkenness of Lloyd, the soppy swan-neckery of R.L.S., my mother - let us draw a veil' (B&M 6: 264).

(i-iii )TWM; [(i) Furnas; (i, ii,) Knight 95, 94]; (i) BLYS (B4 F74)

26 January


At the boathouse of King Kalakaua, Honolulu (26 Jan. 1889): Hawaiian feast (luau) at king's boathouse, all wearing leis and seated on floor (back row: RLS, Princess Liliukalani (King’s sister), King (with dark jacket), Mrs Margaret Stevenson; left: Lloyd (dark jacket); right: Belle; Hawaiian flag back R).

Belle ‘demonstrates "one finger poi" (Caldwell, Elsie Noble (1960). Last Witness for Robert Louis Stevenson. Norman: U Oklahoma P.

TWM; [Knight 103; Mackay 12, McLynn]

26 Jan.


RLS (R, wearing lei) with Crown Princess Liliuokalani (L), who extends r arm along seat back towards RLS

Probably taken during the feast at the boathouse (the flag is in the background in the NLS print)

TWM, BLYS (B3 F38) NLS (MS 9907 No. 111),  [Knight 107]

1 February


In the cabin of The Casco with King Kalakaua (Feb. 1 1889): Lloyd (seated on ground), Fanny (resting chin on hand), RLS (leaning slightly forward and to r, watch-chain visible), King K. (in white suit, holding straw boater), RLS's mother (in profile with widow's cap and streamers). 

TWM, NLS (MS 9907 No. 110), BLYS (B4 F73) [Calder 268, Daiches 82, Knight 101, Terry 8, Le Bris 30, McLynn pl. 27, Harman]

1st February


On the quarter deck of the Casco: ship’s wheel, bell and binnacle; sitting (L to R): Fanny, woman, Kalakaua, Belle, Mrs M. Stevenson, Lloyd (on highest seat), RLS (in dark jacket, looking downwards), 2 men with moustaches (one in a light suit, the other in dark); standing: 9 men (bearded figure on L ?Capt. Otis?)

In TWM display this is identified as ‘1888’ – but King K. visited the Casco in 1st Feb or 1889


24 June


On board The Equator at the quayside, Honolulu - Lloyd sitting on deckhouse with wide-brimmed hat L, RLS standing with cap in hand, Fanny and Mr Rick (agent for Wightman Bros., owners of the Equator, and also US consular agent at Butaritari, principle island of the Gilbert, or Kingmill Group) sitting on deckhouse, all with leis 

The Equator left Honolulo on 24 June: 'The family all lined up on deck to be photographed as Austin and I climbed onto the wharf. They were still standing there waving to us as the schooner slowly moved away' (Isobel Field [Belle Strong] (1937). This Life I've Loved. Pp. 241-2.

TWM, NLS (MS 9907, No. 138) [Daiches 86, Le Bris 31]



(i) On the bowsprit of The Equator: further along the bowsprit are three other men, one with pipe in mouth, another pointing; (ii) another photo with boy in foreground leaning over the side of the ship and S in different position; (iii) another photo taken further back, including several sails and deckhouse, S in white cap sitting barefoot on deck (tapes around trouser-legs to hold them up).  

 The caption in The Bookman special number says they are 'spearing a fish'

(i) TWM, NLS (MS 9907, No. 96, 97) [Bm 134, Calder 276], Harman; (ii) NLS (MS 9907, No. 102); (iii) Memories (Edin. 1912) XIX

July or Oct


Butaritari (Gilbert Islands): (i) interior of Sans Souci public house, RLS (rear l, behind table between two native girls), wearing floral circlet on head, Lloyd in striped blazer on stool r, hand on bar holding wine-glass; (ii) RLS and Fanny with Nan Tok and Nei Takauti; women (holding hands) seated, men (on either side of them) lying on ground, RLS (foreground, barefoot, l leg out straight, r leg tucked under it) wearing floral circlet on head; (iii) 2 native women sitting, RLS (white trousers and dark shirt) and Fanny standing in front of a carriage clock and a bell.

The Gilbert Islands 'formerly also known as the Kingsmill Group and now called Kiribati' (B &M 6: 325). For the San Souci cf. Tus. Edit. 20, pp. 230-1, B & M 6, p. 326 n. 1. For more on the dominant Nan Tok and her younger husband Nei Takauti see In the South Seas (Tusitala Ed. 20: 270 ff.). ‘The two women are seated and the two men half-recline on the ground, surrounded by luxuriant, jungle-like vegetation. Fanny and Nei Takauti are holding hands. The men gaze at the camera, Stevenson with something of the look of a young Donald Sutherland. Barefoot and flower-garlanded, they look as if they’ve just come from the Glastonbury festival, or are posing for a Mamas and Papas album cover.’ (Roslyn Jolly, Heat 5 (2003).

(i) TWM [McLynn, pl. 25]; (ii) TWM, NLS (MS 9907 No. 116),  [Knight 135; illustration from this photo by O. Lacour in Black and White 1891 (see biblio 1b), woodcut in Scally 9, Harman]; (iii) NLS (MS 9907, No. 99)



Apemama (Gilbert Islands): (i) RLS (sitting on the ground with wide brimmed hat and arms round knees) under the devil tree with mesmerist (standing in front of him), being hypnotised as a cure for a cold; (ii) King Tembinok entertains the Stevenson party, all seated round table, RLS at left leaning forward, Fanny in floral dress with back to camera 

TWM; NLS MS 9907, No. 100



‘King dining with Stevenson party in camp at Apemama’: S in wicker chair on L in striped blazer, Lloyd sitting behind the table, Fanny on this side with back to camera, King on R.

TWM (Colley p. 136)

13 Nov


Birthday picture in front of ‘Adrift’. RLS – Mr Rick – Fanny just forward of the cabin skylight; man lying down on R is Joe Strong. The sailor climbing the main mast is Laa, boy from Honolulu (washed overboard on the homeward bound voyage).

Photo taken by Lloyd Osbourne and T. Murray MacCallum (cook aboard the Equator).

(Details in a letter from MacCallum, R.L.S Stevenson, Uncatalogued MS Vault 805, Beinecke’s Collector’s Files Box 1, Folder M)

Possibly in Beinecke Library



Full-length portrait of RLS, dark jacket and light trousers, palm trees in background, holding book in r hand, looking l (photo by John Davis of Apia) 

BLY [a drawing from this: Hammerton 92, Knight 111, Bm 136]



RLS (very thin) and Fanny in Samoa, RLS in broad-peaked yachting cap and loose jacket with r arm on hip, l hand on Fanny's shoulder; Fanny holding plait of hair in her raised r hand, dressed in long loose dress; large-leafed bush and tree behind. 

TWM [B & M 6] image

Feb-Apr or Aug-Sept


l profile of RLS by Kerry of Sydney, head and shoulders, shortish hair, no detached curls, tie not quite meeting both sides of collar, dark jacket. 

This could also be Feb-March 1893, the third occasion when RLS was in Sydney.

(Mary Evans Picture Library, picture 10051534, is an engraving by Swan Electric from this photo)


RLS and Fanny on quarterdeck of SS Janet Nicoll:photo taken from below, looking up at the couple standing at the rail, Fanny with r hand held up to hold her hat.

RLS and Fanny sailed in the JN from Sydney to Samoa and then on to the Gilbert and Marshall Islands and New Caledonia. Knight wrongly describes this as The Equator.

TWM [Rice 128, Knight 151]

1 May

'Pineapple Cottage', a temporary house built for use while Vailima was being built: steps leading up to narrow first-floor verandah; RLS standing at top of steps, Fanny to the R, Jack Buckland (‘Tin Jack’, the model for Tommy hadden in The Wrecker) sitting on the top step, H.J. Moors slightly lower down; two horses R. 

When RLS and Fanny, travelling on the Janet Nicoll, on a brief overnight stop in Apia, came to look at progress of the work on Vailima before leaving again for the Gilbert Islands. 'We also have a house about the size of a manufacturer's lodge. 'Tis but an egg of the future palace' (Letter 13.7.1890, B & M 6: 393).
Photo taken shortly after the writing of 'Father Damien' (Feb 1890).
This is where S and Fanny were when Henry Adams and John LaFarge called (‘a two-storey Irish shanty with steps outside to the upper floor, and a galvanised iron roof … a man so thin and emaciated that he looks like a bundle of sticks in a bag, with a head and eyes morbidly intelligent and restless. He was costumed in dirty striped pyjamas…’)

TWM, BLY [B & M 7, Neider, Knight 26, Bm 110, Harman]



Group portrait under an awning aboard the Janet Nicoll - man (Capt. Henry??) with cap seated L, two men standing (Stoddard and Hird??),RLS leaning on rail wearing a cap, striped jacket and dark knee-length shorts, R; Fanny with loose dress sitting in front of them on the deck, L,  with Harry Henderson (partner in Henderson and MacFarlane), C, and Jack Buckland (‘Tin Jack’), R. Taken by Lloyd Osbourne. The number ‘284’ on the print. (SCRAN)

Ernest Henry was the captain, Harry Henderson, partner in the firm of Henderson and Macfarlane, Walter Stoddard, the Chief Engineer, and Ben Hird, the supercargo, a well-known trader with many tales of the South seas. Robert Louis Stevenson dedicated Island Nights' Entertainments to Henderson, Hird and Buckland.

‘The party is the captain, a very mild German; Henderson, the charterer, very nice fellow...;Stoddard, engineer, frae Glesgie; Hird, supercargo, frae Aiberdeen; Jack Buckland, a strange Sydney Turfite and (at the same time, or rather in alternate layers) Gilbert Island Beachcomber, admirably good-looking and really nice in his way; indeed the whole lot is first rate.’ [Letters, VI, p386].

TWM (SCRAN Image 000-000-550-483-C)


‘Joe and Lloyd take photos of the house boys’ (M. Stevenson, pocket diary, Beinecke 7304)


‘We have been taking some photos lately; one large one of the whole party was done in the lawn, ourselves with our friends the G---s [Gurrs] sitting in front, the house servants behind us, and the outdoor boys on the steps of the verandah still further back’ (M. Stevenson, Letters from Samoa 1891-1995. New York: Scribner’s, 1906: 106).



'Mr Stevenson with Anaho Family', painting by Robert Atkinson

BLTYS (B4 F83)



RLS on his pony Jack: (i) in white, wearing boots, cap and holding a riding crop, on a dark pony (Jack), both facing to their r, RLS turned to face the camera), forest background; (ii) RLS, wearing boots, hat (same strange square-peaked cap as in the 1889/90 photo) and holding a riding crop, on dark pony (Jack), Vailima, two Samoans on horseback to his r, behind them the verandah of Vailima (first wing) with palm-frond decorations 

Jack was bought from Moors in 1890: 'He reigned alone in Stevenson's affection' (Balfour 1901 qu. Terry 151n). Harman dates this as ‘c1891’.

1892 Photos are close to the time of the writing of most of 'Falesà' (Sept 1891), and are also from the period of the writing of Catriona (1892).

(i) TWM (Vailima Letters 110) [Le Bris 33], (ii) prob. BLYS (Oversize B10) 'RLS in Samoa, with horse and two men' [Neider]



Interiors of great hall, Vailima, including - i) RLS seated in chair by dining table and ii) RLS, dark jacket and light trousers, leaning against main staircase, Lloyd sitting by piano, Belle standing with mandolin; (iii)  hall looking to the cupboard, with safe in left corner (no people)

(i) TWM; (ii) TWM (, [Hammerton 108, Knight 24 (cropped and much grainier), Le Bris 38, Bm 130]; (iii)

11 May

Views of Vailima: (i) front of house with family on veranda and pack horse at side, haystack occupying the end part of the veranda, RLS leaning over front first floor balcony, palm-frond decorations along the upper part of each ground-floor bay (in 1982.1 they are also down the sides of the posts), on ground floor: Mary Carter, Mrs Thomas Stevenson, Lloyd, Joe Strong, Talolo, Fanny, Tomasi, Belle; (ii) view from side of the house with Mt Vaea in the background, RLS leaning over first floor balcony (side nearest the camera) 

Both the house photos and the family veranda photos were taken on 11 May by Apia photographer John Davis (B & M 7: 286n). See Bell, Leonard (2002). ‘Pictures as History, Settlement as Theatre: John Davis's Photo-Portrait of Robert Louis Stevenson and Family at Vailima, Samoa, 1892’. Journal of NewZealand Literature 20: 93-111. Davis died in 1893.

(i) TWM (in LSH 151/91, the 'Samoa; Vailima' album), NLS (MS 9908 15r; 9907 No. 134), Coll. P.E. Richard (France); (ii) NLS (MS 9907, No. 135), [(i) Furnas; (i) (ii) Neider, USC]

11 May


Vailima veranda photographs (by John Davis of Apia): (i) household on the steps of Vailima: Joe Strong and lava-lava (over trousers) with Cocky the parrot, isolated on L, looking away; central group on the veranda: RLS's mother (seated, profile), Lloyd (standing with folded arms), RLS (seated, folded arms), Fanny (seated, resting head on hand); Simi (steward), standing, Laafaele (cattle man) sitting in front of him and Tomasi (assistant cook) to his left with an axe. Belle and Austin on steps in front of Fanny. Sitting on the top step: Mary (white maid), Talolo (cook) in front of LLoyd and RLS. Sitting on the bottom step: Savea (plantation hand), Elena (laundress), and Aporick (pantry man); (iii) just the family - Mary Carter (Mrs M. Stevenson's maid) in the background, Lloyd seated on steps, Margaret Stevenson (r profile), Belle and Austin (with Belle's hat on) seated on steps, RLS (looking down) and Fanny seated behind, Joe with parrot leaning against pillar R.; (iv) similar to (iii) but RLS looks up and seems less dejected; (v) RLS head and shoulders, looking to r, striped shirt with gusset at neck (derived from (i))

'Some copies of the group photograph are dated 31 July 1892, but this must have been the date it was dispatched' since Mary Carter left for New Zealand on 11 May (B & M 7: 286n). Roslyn Jolly (Heat 5 (2003)): ‘It could be a kind of colonial fantasy: ‘planter’s family and retainers’. Yet there are strange touches. The Samoan cattleman Lafaele leans familiarly towards Stevenson’s step-daughter, his knee pressed against hers. Her husband, at the far left of the picture, dressed in a pariu, with a parrot on his shoulder, looks like the disreputable beachcomber he in fact was. At the right Tomasi, one of the cooks, wears a garland and wields an axe, a living embodiment of the European’s desire for and fear of the primitive. The picture suggests the crazy, carnivalesque elements in the Vailima enterprise. Alternative caption: ‘civilisation is rot’.’ Davis died in 1893.

(i) SCRAN (with ref to TWM) [***], Cll. P.E. Richard (France); (ii) TWM, SCRAN (with ref to National Library of Scotland, prob NLS Adv.MS.21.610, f.12r), BLY (MS Vault), [The Mansell Collection, Calder 307, B & M 7, Le Bris, Knight 180, Mackay 15, Terry 10, Le Bris 36, Bm 135, McLynn pl. 29, Neider]; (iii) TWM [***]; (iv) *** [Neider]; (v) *** [Osbourne RLS in California (as 'picture never before published'), Rice p. 94]

11 May

Vailima, arrival of the pack horses; Lloyd (holding horse), RLS r hand on hip looking l, Joe Strong with parrot in centre (removed ?by Stevenson? from subsequent copies of this photo), Auvea & Lafaele (holding second horse). All wearing same clothes as in the veranda photographs.

Entitled 'Supplies Day' by Knight (81); in NLS MS 9907 (No. 121) the caption is ‘arrival of goods from Civili Service Cooperative Society of N.S. Wales’; in NLS (MS 9006, No. 133) there is the caption ‘The forest trees in front (towards the left) of Vailima’.

TWM, BLY (cut off vsn), University of Oklahoma, NLS (MS 9907 No. 121, 133)[Neider, Knight 81, Le Bris 34, Rice 124 (without JS)] 



Group portrait of RLS and Samoan servants on the back veranda of Vailima: RLS centre (looking tired) sits on the steps (l leg on a higher step, r hand resting on r knee, l forearm on l knee; white jacket and trousers, the latter tucked into boots, loose broad tie), male servant against post R, 3 servants cross-legged on the veranda behind, Austin Strong on steps L, one female servant standing in front of the doorway; Belle standing L leaning on a sloping stair-handrail, Fanny seated R on the house side of the veranda.

'His face is gaunt and haggard, and wears an expression of continual weariness' (San Francisco journalist1893 qu. Terry 182); ‘R.L.S. at home and subjected to the domestic restraints of his faithful guardian wife, and surrounded by Samoan servants, seemed a strangely humbled man. His expressive eyes seemed to hold the light of tragedy. Notwithstanding the spacious comfort of his apartments, well furnished, good wine, and assiduous attention of those he loved, an atmosphere of gloom prevailed’ (A. Safroni.Middleton, qu. M. Elwin (1950), The Strange Case of Robert Louis Stevenson)

Edinburgh City Libraries, NLS (MS 9907, no. 51), BLY MS Vault [this picture first appeared in Belle's "Vailima Table-Talk: Robert Louis Stevenson in His Home Life: Second Paper," Scribner's Magazine, 19 (June 1896), 743, where it is captioned "Family Group on the Back Veranda at Vailima.", reprinted in Memories of Vailima (1902), 133Bm 133, Knight 181, Rice 117, McLynn pl. 32]


Portraits by Count Girolamo Pieri Nerli: (i) portrait (3 versions), in oils, head and shoulders and down to waist (sitting), 3q l, eyes turned to viewer (from the cormer of the eyes), l side of face in shade, open-neck shirt, (ii) RLS head and shoulders: pastel portrait by Girolamo Nerli, looking slightly r, white shirt with plain thin neckband under the collar, (iii) charcoal sketch, (iv) pencil sketches - head and shoulders, similar to (i) above (for M these are made from the oil painting c. 1910); (v) other oils and sketches including a watercolour sketch listed and reproduced by Neill in the Edinburgh Academy (possibly the first. Nerli portrait--more spontaneous than the others, more of a sketch).. 

see Neill, Roger, 1997. Robert Louis Stevenson and Count Nerli in Samoa. Banbury: Red Lion Press. Chosen by Aldington as the frontispiece for his biography Portrait of a Rebel. The sketch (iv) above (signed and with dedication 'al mio caro amico H. Walter Barnett, questo ricordo di Samoa…') is judged 'superbly right' by G.B. Stern. Barnett was a Sydney photographer (see below under 1893).G.B. Stern (1948: 251) sees in (iv) 'a buccaneer wary in his sidelong scrutiny any approaching danger, yet more than half amused at himself for caring one way or the another' and (p. 281) 'a man with long hair, gaunt face, and brilliant dark eyes that with a sidelong smile mocked at the whole world'. M says (iii) above (the charcoal sketch) is ‘after 1992’ and (iv) (the pencil sketch) is ‘c.1910’.

 A portrait by reputedly by Nerli was put on sale in Edinburgh in 1999, but was withdrawn and the attribution was apparently not secure. The story of the incident with further notes on the Nerli portraits is told by George Addis.

(i) Scottish National Portrait Gallery [the original work for Neill and M (2004)], copies (according to M) iin BLY 1252.36.1 [the original work according to B & M 7: 348n], and in TWM, [Hammerton 331]; (ii) Princeton University Library [B & M 7, dustjacket and fp] with a replica in Scottish Nat. Port. Gallery (M); (iii) BLY 1952.36.2; (iv) [Bm 109, G.B. Stern 1948, Bookman special No. 1913]; (iv) the Mitchell Library, Sydney, and TWM(v) portraits in the Mitchell Library, Sydney & the Hocken Library, Dunedin



Portrait, in oils, of Stevenson by Joe Strong, 1893 




Group photographs on a veranda in Sydney: (i) photo taken along the line of the veranda - four standing (L to R: probably Mrs and Mr Wise, Graham Balfour in Mexican hat, Isobel Strong), three sitting (S’s mother, RLS, probably Richard Threlfall); (ii) group with trellis behind, four standing (Balfour with hat, Belle, probably Mr and Mrs Wise), three sitting (lady with a hat, RLS on reclinable chair (wearing overcoat over black velvet jacket, l leg on r knee), S’s mother) 

This was originally identified here with Vailima, but this is mistaken. Mehew (Letters 8, 35n) says ‘A photograph of RLS, MIS, Belle and Graham Balfour with Threlfall and Mr and Mrs Wise is reproduced in Our Samoan Adventure [Neider]’

(i) [Neider]; (ii) NLS MS 9907, No. 26; Yale BM 664 box 64 folder 1488 (just RLS in an oval)

early March

Group studio photograph (by Henry Walter Barnett of the Falk Studio or by Freeman & Co. in Sydney), RLS in velvet jacket: (i) group portrait (March 1893) on leather chaise longue or upholstered bench against wallpaper background - Fanny in loose dress, RLS in high-buttoned velvet jacket with edging strips, Belle with hair brushed back, RLS's mother in widow's cap, (ii) RLS in same high-buttoned velvet jacket and broad tie (with thin stripe), but without the folded handkerchief points in his breast pocket, looking to his r, (iii) almost identical portrait except that RLS is looking slightly less to his r., (iv) an other portrait. On returning from Australia, RLS writes 'Had some splendid photos taken, likewise a medallion by a French scupltor' (L8, 35; 29 March 1893).

Not clear if these by Freeman & Co., Sydney (so listed by M); State Library NSW catalogues the group photo as by Freeman & Co, but the single portrait (ii) by Falk Studios.

M lists the following Barnett Photographs: (a) two in TWM, (b) two in the Mitchell Library, Sydney, (c) two repro. In McClure’s Magazine (Aug. 1893, 292-3), (d) another in TWM. BLY catalogue also has: 'RLS by H. Walter Barnett, prints' (B4 F63).
However M also has 'Freeman & Co, Sydney, group photograph, 1893 (with his family), Writers' Museum, Edinburgh.'
The Mitchell library give this information:
Robert Louis Stevenson with his mother, wife and step-daughter, taken at their temporary residence in Darlinghurst, Sydney [ie the Oxford Hotel]

RLS was in Sydney from 28 February to 20 March 1893 (staying at the Oxford Hotel). He had previously been there (i) 13 Feb - 11 April 1890; (ii) 7 August - 4 September 1890; (iii) 20 January - 19 February 1891.

1893 photos are from the period when Stevenson was working on the final version of The Ebb-Tide (in 1893). The Bookman special number (p. 169) identifies (ii) as by Falk of Sydney and (iii) by Barnett--but Barnett was the name of the photographer and his studio was the Falk Studio--it adds that (ii) was 'autographed and presented by Stevenson to Mr H. Walter Barnett' (i.e. to the photographer himself).

(i) TWM, NLS (MS 9907, No. 131), Mitchell Library, Sydney (which has the orignal dry plate negative, call number ON 219) [The Mansell Collection, Furnas, B & M 8, Mackay 17, Knight 8, Terry 11, le Bris 35], (ii) [Hammerton 163, Masson 288, Bm 169], (iii) Edinburgh City Libraries [Bm 111, Knight 17].

['RLS by H. Walter Barnett, prints' in BLYS (B4 F63)]


Another set of Sydney studio portraits (by H. Walter Barnett of the Falk Studio), RLS in smooth-cloth jacket, sitting on a square-backed antique-style armchair (with carved (acanthus-like) endings to the back uprights, scroll endings to the armrests the top of which are covered by nailed leather): (i) RLS (two small divergent curls over l temple, untidy hair r and l, white shirt with cufflinks) seated turning l to face camera, leaning with l forearm on r arm of chair, hands lightly clasped, r index finger pointing down; (ii) head and shoulders, 3q l and looking to his l, arms brought forwards as if to clasp over crossed knee; (iii) turned 3q to his r and half-leaning against r arm of the chair but turning to face the camera, legs crossed, hands clasped on r knee, high-buttoned jacket, ring with gemstone on little finger of l hand, half of r boot visible; (iv) same clothes, ring and curls, RLS 3/4 r but looking at camera, leaning back against the r-hand side of the chair (carved ending to back upright just visible behind l collar of jacket), head bent r, hand resting on l thigh (hands not clasped); (v) head and shoulders, trurned to R (showing l side of face) (copy in Silverado embossed with 'The /Falk/Studio')

S was in Sydney 28 Feb - 20 March 1893.In a letter to Colvin about his stay in Sydney, he says ‘had some splendid photos taken’ (Letters, 8: 35).
Guthrie (55) sees in (i): 'the brilliant, humorous, quizzical, fragile Stevenson' and S.R. Lysaght (qu. Masson: 259-60) says that of all the photos it 'is most in accord with the impression I got of him when I saw him in that last year of life'. This image also seems to coincide with the word 'eager' that an American acquaintance and Wilfred Meynell apply to his appearance and manner (Hammerton 1910: 146). Knight entitles both (i) and (ii) simply 'R.L.S.' (the second with quotation marks), implicitly giving them a special status. Concerning the gaze, Harry Moors said his eyes 'seemed to penetrate you like the eyes of a mesmerist' (Terry xviii) and an Australian journalist makes a similar comment (Terry 156).
The late Robert Van Dyke of Hawaii claimed to have Belle Strong's own copy of This Life I have Loved with (iv) opposite an interleaved blank page with the comment 'I was standing behind the / camera and when this was taken / Louis winked at me!' (from photocopy of the page shown to me by Karen Steele). However, Van Dyke seems to have claimed to possess much Stevenson memorabilia that has not been seen since his death in 2004 (see Swearingen, Dickens Studies Annual 38 (2007) p. 237) and this book may have been manufactured by him.

(i) TWM (copy sent to Charles Baxter) [Guthrie 55, Knight 164, Le Bris 40, Bm 105; engraving from this by W. Strang in Vailima Letters; BLYS has 'print by W. Strang' (B4 F54) and 'RLS by J. Falk, print' (B4 F59)]; (ii) Edinburgh City Libraries [Hammerton 163, Knight (cropped, grainy) 85]; (iii) Edinburgh City Libraries [Masson, frontispiece; Knight, frontispiece (cropped), McLynn (cropped)]; (iv) pasted into Belle's copy of This Life I have Loved  (v) Silverado



(i) Sydney studio portrait with Belle: S seated on upholstered chair with tassels with l leg over r knee, l hand on l knee, r hand on short hexagonal pillar-pedestal – Belle standing r forearm resting on S’s l shoulder, flowers on r lapel, narrow brimmed hat, l had on hip, gloves; S looks frail, legs thin; studio landscape behind.

The Beinecke photo however seems to be reversed (the buttons are on the left side of the jacket and S has his hair parted on the l, not on the r as in all the other Sydney photos). Hence, l and r in the above description should be  reversed. (ii) apparently very similar (reversed) photo with the corners of Belle’s mouth turned down and with eyes looking away to her r (in the other she looks straight at the camera with a slight smile) — but now it seems that this is identical with the first, the slight difference in expression being due to differences in shading produced by printing.

Rice 67: ‘may have been taken in San Francisco in 1879’, but the clothes and hair suggest Sydney 1893. This is Beinecke 39002037375756, wrongly described as "Isobel with a young man"

The story of the photo (taken on the way back to the hotel from the Falk Studio in a rough shop offering a photo for sixpence) is told by James Tighe Ryan, 'A Gossip About Robert Louis Stevenson', The Antipodean, Sydney, 1894 [published 1893]. Also included in Stevenson's mother's Scrapbook, 1889-1893, 276-277, from The Antipodean, 1894, 71-72. [= Beinecke 2343]

(i)BLYS [Rice 67]; (ii) frontispiece to vol 15 of the Swanston Editon with the caption "R.L.S. and Mrs. Strong (from an old tin-type, posed and taken by a strolling photographer in a fair in Sydney, N.S.W., in 1892'


Group studio photograph (Sydney), also a half-length seated portrait of RLS taken from this (RLS in loose, thick, light-coloured jacket), 

oval portrait taken from the group picture, BLY



Group studio photograph by Freeman & Co., Sydney (listed by M).

Not clear if this is the same as the one above.


17 March


pencil sketch (and engraving) by Percy F.S. Spence: 3/4 l, head and shoulders with "Robert Louis Stevenson / March 17th 1893" underneath; something wrong with moustache (looks more frontal than the face)

Balfour Paul (Hammerton 1910: 331) says this was bought by the London Nat. Port. Gall. in 1899

Nat. Port. Gallery [Strong, Isobel & Lloyd Osbourne (1908). Memories of Vailima - frontispiece.; Hammerton 329]



‘Bull Bassett on the lawn at Vailima’: a sketch by A.J. Daplyn showing RLS ,Lloyd and Daplyn chasing a bull, dated June 1893. P. 71 in one of the RLS photo albums in the National Library of Scotland
Alfred James Daplyn (1844-1926), studied under Carolus-Duran, and spent time in Barbizon, where he met RLS. He emigrated to Australia in 1881 and met RLS again in Sydney in 1890. He stayed in Samoa from May 1893 to at least January 1894 and often came to Vailima.

NLS (one of the RLS photo albums, p. 71)

5 Sept

(i) Distant view of Vailima (second wing completed) with family to right foreground - group includes RLS, Lloyd, Fanny, Belle and Graham Balfour; a few Samoans are with them and another group of Samoans l foreground; hammock on verandah, 1st bay, of original wing, and a creeper covering both storeys of the second bay; (ii) side view, taken from the end of the second wing 

the second wing of Vailima was completed in early 1893; GB stayed at Vailima Aug-Nov 1892, Apr-Sept 1893, June-Oct 1894. On the bacl of NLs copy ‘Vailima 1893’.
Thomas Andrew 'came up for to photograph our palatial mansion and renowned family, and I can tell you the _au faigaluenga_ [plantation workers] came out strong! Ten powerful Samoans, some with blackened faces, all bedizened with hibiscus, and all with axes in their hands, made a bodyguard really worthy of the _undersigned_. Andrews took the house from the paddock gate [from the north, looking south to the house][...] with the _au faigaluenga_ on one side and the family and the house boys on the other. He also took two views of the big room and one of the kitchen; likewise an elegant picture representing a smiling but slightly corpulent female standing in an orange gownd into the doorway of the open safe.' (Letters 8: 166; the last photo is reproduced in Laura Stubbs, Stevenson's Shrine (1903) fp. 41).
Photo (i) was certainly taken by Andrew on 5 Sept; (ii) could be on the same day and by the same photographer.

i) TWM, NLS (MS 9907, f. 1); (ii) Silverado Museum (glass negative)
[(i)J. A. Hammerton, ed., Stevensoniana (2nd ed., 1907), fp 100; Margaret Mackay, The Violent Friend (1968), 14; Jenni Calder, ed., The RLS Companion (1980), 87; Frank McLynn, RLS (1993), pl. 28; and vol. 8 of the Yale Letters (1995); (ii) Mary Evans Picture Library, ref. 1061082]

11 Sept.

(i) RLS and Fanny standing on the steps of Vailima (at the angle formed by the stepped façade, decorated with ferns), the band of H.M.S. Katoomba sitting on the steps in front, Samoans in front of them and to R and L on veranda, behind RLS Graham Balfour (moustache, face ¾ r), to R of RLS Belle Strong white dress, dark sash) and behind her the bearded Bazett Haggard, by the post on the right; the small man with beard at the back (in front of the tall woman in white) is solicitor/banker, E. W. Gurr; his wife, Fanua, is in the 'plaid' dress next to Fanny; (ii) similar to the former except that Balfour is fully facing the camera; (iii) distant view, band lined up on lawn, S with shawl leaning against a pillar of the veranda.

'The Samoans' axes show that they have been performing one of the local ceremonial dances' (Furnas).

_Tuesday, 12th Sept._--Yesterday was perhaps the brightest in the annals of Vailima. I got leave from Captain Bickford to have the band of the _Katoomba_ come up, and they came, fourteen of 'em, with drum, fife, cymbals and bugles, blue jackets, white caps, and smiling faces. The house was all decorated with scented greenery above and below. We had not only our own nine out-door workers, but a contract party that we took on in charity to pay their war-fine; the band besides, as it came up the mountain, had collected a following of children by the way, and we had a picking of Samoan ladies to receive them. Chicken, ham, cake and fruits were served out with coffee and lemonade, and all the afternoon we had rounds of claret negus flavoured with rum and limes. They played to us, they danced, they sang, they tumbled. Our boys came in the end of the verandah and gave _them_ a dance for a while. It was anxious work getting this stopped once it had begun, but I knew the band was going on a programme. Finally they gave three cheers for Mr. and Mrs. Stevens, shook hands, formed up and marched off playing--till a kicking horse in the paddock put their pipes out something of the suddenest--we thought the big drum was gone, but Simelé flew to the rescue. And so they wound away down the hill with ever another call of the bugle, leaving us extinct with fatigue, but perhaps the most contented hosts that ever watched the departure of successful guests. Simply impossible to tell how well these blue-jackets behaved; a most interesting lot of men; this education of boys for the navy is making a class, wholly apart--how shall I call them?--a kind of lower-class public school boy, well-mannered, fairly intelligent, sentimental as a sailor. What is more shall be writ on board ship if anywhere. (Letters 8, 161)

(i and ii) NLS (MS 9908 13r, 14v, and in MS 9756, and MS 9907 No. 114, 119) [Furnas, Neider, Knight 182]; (iii) NLS (MS 9908 14v)



Life-size bust of RLS by Allen Hutchinson (modelled in Honululu 1893, cast in bronze in 1895); 

the only bust of RLS modelled from life; AH's account of the modelling in Scribner's Magazine, Aug. 1926 (B 6M 8: 178n). "A ghastly thing and disagreeable to look at" (Sir James Balfour Paul 1895, qu. Bookman Special Number (1913). p. 205.

RLSCS; replicas at BLY (u.1952.36.5), which also has AH's cast of RLS's r hand, Nat. Port. Gall. London, The Huntingdon Library, and Academy of Arts, Honolulu (cf B & M 8: 178n, also M 2004, p. 606)



Sketches of man with moustache identified by Rice (122) as Belle’s romanticized sketches of S: (i) r profile (ii) l profine (iii) leaning on r elbow (iv) sleeping a hammock

These are actually of Graham Balfour (Palema).

(i) BLY [Rice 122], others all in BLY



(i) Louis and Belle in the library at Vailima: RLS in light-coloured shirt and trousers with sash around waist leans against the back of a chair, Belle (seated on stool) writes; mantelpiece, ornaments, pistols on wall, bookcases (door with drawn curtain over the upper part between the two figures) 

(ii) Louis R, Belle L, sitting on either side of a double window, apparently wearing the same clothes as in (i). RLS (l profile) in a reclining wing-armchair with a board on his lap on which he is writing, Belle (3/4 r) sitting with folded legs on cushions, narrow table to RLS’s l (with glass, book etc.), papers and books in the foreground. Title (in Strong 1896): ‘Mr. Stevenson and his step-daughter amanuensis, Mrs Strong, in the library at Vailima’ and adds ‘Drawn by Oziaz Dodge from a a photograph. (This photograph is the only copy extant of a destroyed negative, and its faded condition make it impossible to get an entirely satisfactory reproduction.)’ 

‘the cool downstairs sitting room at Vailima’ (Caldwell)

(i) TWM [Calder 301, Mackay 18, Daiches 103, Knight 25, Le Bris 39, Bm 163, McLynn pl. 31]

(ii) Strong, Isobel (1896). ‘Vailima Table-Talk. Robert Louis Stevenson in his Home Life’. Scribner’s Magazine (May, June 1896) 19 (5, 6); Rice 120 (no source given)

29 Jan., p.m.


Portraits against vegetation (creeper) and trellis: (i) RLS standing on matting, white shirt, square-ended tie, waist-sash, hand on hip, hand with white hat held behind back, high boots; to his r Samoan high chief (Tui Malealiifano), barefoot and in loose white clothes - the photo is often reproduced showing only RLS, (ii) group photo of RLS (in white shirt, square-ended tie, arms crossed) seated, with Lloyd Osbourne and two Samoans (one of them Tui Malealiifano) standing behind (M however lists a group photo in TWM, BLY and Nat. Port. Gal. with RLS, Lloyd, ‘Samoan chief and Count Wurmbrand, which sounds like this photograph). 

‘I am going down [to Apia] this afternoon to be photographed in company with Tui’ (Letters 5. 240); 'the last portrait of Louis' (Daiches 90), ‘taken by a young Lutheran missionary who had stopped at Apia on her way home from work in Melanesia’ (Calwell (1960), who thanks ‘George Roberts, Los Angeles’ for permission to use the photo.
Gosse says that 'the advance with hand on hip' (perhaps as in (i)) was one of his familiar gestures (qu. Terry 53). The pose in (i) is reminiscent of the description by Charlotte Earon (1916 qu. Terry 135): 'appearing on the threshold as frail and distinguished looking as a portrait by Velazquez'. H.J. Moors (1910 qu. Terry 150) says 'He always came down [to Apia] with a soft shirt on and generally white flannel trousers, sometimes with a red sash tied round the waist'

Stevenson was working on Weir of Hermiston and St. Ives in this period.

(i) TWM, BLY(MS Vault) [The Mansell Collection],  Calder 330, Vailima Letters 320, Neider, Knight 186, Terry 12, Bm fp, Mclynn pl. 30], (ii) TWM [cropped version with plain background added to make half-length portrait of RLS in Furnas, B & M 8 and Daiches 90]

7 October


Feast on the veranda at Vailima, company all seated: (i) with food, RLS and Fanny at the far end of the veranda, Lloyd R on the house side; (ii) before the meal, with kava bowl to R, looking along the veranda (house on L) with RLS seated in middle of veranda by front door, company on house side almost all in white, Mrs Margaret Stevenson and two men behind her on chairs, others all cross-legged, Samoans mainly on the garden side; another version of this with Austin Strong with l elbow on l knee and with hand on chin and second Samoan on L looking towards the camera 

the feast to celebrate the completion of 'The Road of the Loving Heart', 7 October 1894

(i) TWM [Daiches 97, Rice 130]; (ii) TWM, [Hammerton 126]; BLYS also has a phtograph of 'a traditional Samoan banquet on porch of a house' (B4 F80); (iii) [Isobel Strong, ‘Vailima Table-Talk’. Scribner’s Magazine (1896) : 741.]

3-4 Dec.


Stevenson lying in state, night of 3-4 December 1894, attended by Sosimo.

Taken by John Davis, photographer of Apia (Colley 2004: 128) – but the SCRAN catalogue points out that ‘John Davis had died in 1893 and had been succeeded by his assistant Alfred John Tattersall (1861-1951); Thomas Andrew had taken all the later photographs at Vailima.’ 

TWM, BLYS (B4 F64) [Neider, Daiches 109, McLynn pl. 34, Harman]

4 Dec.


View of people standing by the graveside, with Belle Strong and Lloyd Osbourne front right. The service was conducted by the missionary Rev W.E. Clarke. Lloyd wrote that around 19 Europeans and 60 Samoans made the climb to the summit of Mount Vaea, a difficult climb in the heat and humidity [Letters, VIII, p406].

The photographer is unknown. John Davis had died in 1893 and had been succeeded by his assistant Alfred John Tattersall (1861-1951); Thomas Andrew had taken all the later photographs at Vailima. By 1897, a tomb had been constructed in Samoan style from large blocks of cement, with two bronze panels designed by Gelett Burgess of San Francisco. [Letters, VIII, p410] (SCRAN)

TWM (SCRAN image 000-000-550-498-C), Museum of New Zealand (Image C.001428)

4 Dec.?


Grave mound, with cross to left.

"Po'e and Sitione ... arranged the stones about the grave and piled them high, and then I noticed that from among the flowers that had been flung in, they had saved a little white tin cross trimmed with artificial flowers and fastened with cheap white ribbon. ... Sitione thrust a twig into the loose earth at the head of the grave, and with Po'e's anxious assistance, the little tin cross was tied on with cocoanut sinnet." [Letters, VIII, pp 407-8]

TWM (SCRAN image 000-000-550-497-C)



Bust by Alan Hutchinson

done 'comparatively recently' in Honolulu [Balfour Paul 1895, in Hammerton 1910: 329] - 'a ghastly thing and disagreebale to look on'




'RLS by A.S. Boyd, print'

BLYS (B4 F61)



Lloyd Osbourne, Count Wurmbrand, RLS. Photograph

BLYS (B4 F77)



'images of RLS... Artists include Simeson, Timothy Cole, photographs, etchings, drawings by Violet Duchess of Rutland' 

BLY W3.28.H.1.650



Reproduction (from dealer catalogue) of 'oil portrait by James Patrick' also 'Photographs and prints' of 'RLS by J. Patrick'

BLYS (B4 F57-8)



'Hollyer, S. Etching of RLS'

BLYS (B4 F95-7)



'Pen-and-ink sketch of RLS, made in Samoa?'

BLYS (Oversize B9)



'Plaster cast of the hand of RLS'

BLYS (Oversize, B17 F170)



Mask portrait of RLS by Gertrude Amidar

SM; photograph of this BLYS (B3 F36)



A.J. Daplyn: paintings of Stevenson at work

'Mr A.J. Daplyn, a well-known Sydney artist… painted several interesting pictures of Mr Stevenson at work' he also witnessed S's will, along with Graham Balfour. (H.J. Moors (1910)., With Stevenson in Samoa. London: ***)


Sources and Abbreviation:

[No author] (1923). R.. L. Stevenson. Memories. Edinburgh/London: T.N Foulis (cover by Jessie N King). [26 pp: short text on left referring to b&w photograph on r]

B & M = Booth, Bradford A. & Ernest Mehew (1994-5). The Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson. New Haven/London: Yale UP.

Bm = Robert Louis Stevenson. The Man and his Work, Extra Number of The Bookman, 1913.

Calder Calder, Jenni (1980). RLS. A Life Study. Glasgow: Drew.

Caldwell = Caldwell, Elsie Noble (1960). Last Witness for Robert Louis Stevenson. Norman: U Oklahoma P.

Colley = Colley, Ann C. (2002). ‘Stevenson’s Pyjamas’. Victorian Literature and Culture (2002): 129-55.

Colley 2004 = Colley, Ann C. (2004). Robert Louis Stevenson and the Colonial Imagination. Aldershot: Ashgate.

Daiches, David (1947). Robert Louis Stevenson: A Revaluation. Glasgow/Norwalk, Conn.: William McClellan/New Directions.

Daiches = Daiches, David (1973). Robert Louis Stevenson and his World. London: Thames and Hudson.

Furnas, J.C. (1951). Voyage to Windward. New York: Sloane.

Giroud = Giroud, Vincent (1994). RLS. A Centenary Exhibition at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library [exhibition catalogue]. New Haven: Yale University

[Goudemare, Sylvain] (1993). R.L.S. [catalogue with commentary of this dealer in fine and first editions]. Paris: Goudemare

Greig = personal communication from Elaine Greig of TWM

Grosskurth, Phyllis (1964). John Addington Symonds.

Hammerton, J.A. (1910). Stevensoniana. Edinburgh: Grant.

Hammond, J.R. (1997). A Robert Louis Stevenson Chronology. London: Macmillan.

Harman, Claire (2005). Robert Louis Stevenson. A Biography. London: HarperCollins.

Hellman = Hellman, George (1925). The True Stevenson: a Study in Clarification. Boston: Little. Brown & Co.

Hill = Hill, Robin A. (2001). RLS in Germany. Edinburgh: privately printed.

JoH = The Writers' Museum (1994). Jekyll or Hyde [brief exhibition leaflet]. Edinburgh City Museums and Galleries.

Knight, Alanna (1986). R.L.S. in the South Seas: An Intimate Photographic Record. Edinburgh/***: Mainstream/Paragon House.

Le Bris, Michel (1994). Robert Louis Stevenson. Les années bohémiennes. Paris: Nil.

Le Bris, Michel (1996). Stevenson. Paris: l'Herne.

Low, Will H. ‘A Chronicle of Friendships. Second Paper: Enter R.L.S.’ The Century Magazine 88vi (Oct 1914): 32-53.

Nina Lübbren (2001). Rural Artists' Colonies in Europe 1870 - 1910 . Manchester: Manchester U P.

 Mackay, Margarte (1969). The Violent Friend. London: Dent.

McLynn = McLynn, Frank (1993). Robert Louis Stevenson. London: Hutchinson.

Masson, Rosaline (1922). I Can Remember Robert Louis Stevenson. London: Chambers

Neider = Neider, Charles (1956). Our Samoan Adventure. London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson.

Rice = Rice, Edward (1974). Journey to Upolo. Robert Louis Stevenson, Victorian Rebel. NY : Dodd, Mead & Co.

RLSE = The City of Edinburgh Council, Department of Recreation, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Edinburgh (2001).

Scally, John (1994). The Illustrated Robert Louis Stevenson. Edinburgh: Canongate/National Library of Scotland.

Stern, G.B. (1948). No Son of Mine. London: Cassell.

Stott, Lois (1992). Robert Louis Stevenson and the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. Milton-of-Aberfoyle: Creag Darach Publications.

Stott, Lois (1994). Robert Louis Stevenson and France. Milton-of-Aberfoyle: Creag Darach Publications.

Swearingen = Swearingen, Roger G. (2006). ‘Robert Louis Stevenson. Note to “The Master of Ballantrae”’. Phtocopied booklet for private distribution at the Fourth Biennial International Robouer Louis Stevenson Conference, Satanac lake, NY, July 2006.

Terry, R.C. (1996). Robert Louis Stevenson: Interviews and Recollections. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press.

BLY = Beinecke Library, Yale University

BLYS = Beinecke Library, Yale, Supplementary List (B = Box, F = Folder)

Le Bris = Le Bris 1996

M = Ernest Mehew, ‘Robert Louis Stevenson’ in the Oxford Dictionary of National BiographOxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004)

NLS = National Library of Scotland

RLCS = The Robert Louis Stevenson Cottage, Saranac

SHM = The Stevenson House, Monterey

SM = Silverado Museum

TWM = The Writers' Museum, Edinburgh

USC = University of South Carolina, Stevenson on-line exhibit

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