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Vernacular Photograph Album with Early Albumen Photographic Views of India, Burma, and Penang. The Album was likely compiled, and the Images taken by a British Missionary or Colonial Official circa late 1850s-1860s

Quarto, album containing 61 photographs, nine of which are loose and laid in, images are mounted on 31 leaves, bound in contemporary ½ roan and brown covered cloth boards, binding worn, front cover detached, but present, portions of back-strip missing, old tape repairs to binding, some foxing to mounting leaves, else very good.

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The views are largely identified in pencil either on mounting leaves, or in the case of the loose photographs in pencil on the verso of the image.

       Most of the photographs are large, ranging in size from approximately 9 x 7 inches to 2 ½ x 3 ½ inches at the smallest. Two images are dated 1858, including: “Entrance to Shingodama’s Pagoda Kenindine”, signed at bottom right corner in red ink “W.S. .58” and “On the Kenindine Road”, likely signed by the same individual. Two of the images are dated in pencil “1865,” most of the images based on costume styles are clearly from this period. However, several images may be from the 1850s, one image taken in India notes the presence of “Sepoy gardeners,” who were undoubtedly fired after the uprising in 1857. Many of the images were probably taken by the unknown compiler of the album.

 

       This interesting album contains early photographic views of locations in Burma, India, both southern and northern, Penang, and in the compiler’s native England. (see complete inventory below).

The views include several of Pagodas in Burma, including the Shouay Dagon and Shwedagon Pagoda in Rangoon, now Yangan, Myanmar. The entrance to “Shingodama’s Pagoda, Kenindine,” “Lyator Traveller’s House – Tennyen,” a view of the village of Tennyen, “Kyoung in Kenindine,” and other views in and around Kenindine.

            There are numerous views of India including: views of Quilon, now Kollom, an old seaport and city on the Laccadive sea coast in Kerala; “Col Stevenson’s garden & part of Backwater with Sepoy gardeners &c – Quilon,” (see image below), and “Mr. Liddells grounds & landing place on Backwater – Quilon.” (see below).

The album contains 11 views of the Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram, a town in Kancheepuram District of the Indian State of Tamil Nadu. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are images of the Pancha Rathans, rock temples and sanctuaries, the Sthalasayam Perumi Temple, the Descent of the Ganges, a rock relief carved on two monolithic boulders, and other sites.

There is a view of the “Mission Church at Palamcottah from the compound of the Training Institution”. Palamcottah during British rule was a town in the Tinnevelly District of Madras, which was at the time the center of missionary activity in South India. Above this image are two group portraits of British military and colonial officials and their wives.

 

        There are two mounted views of a Dak Bungalow and mountain lodge in Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh, dated in pencil 1865.

There are four views of Penang: including a waterfall, “Church,” “Fort at Penang from the sea,” and “Landing Place – Penang.”

The loose views include images of Burma and India. Including two large views of the Shwedagon Pagoda, and a view entitled: “Irama. Basket making at the foot of the Hill & large bamboo growing near” (see below). Which is likely taken somewhere in Java.

 

There are three views of Coonoor, and one of the public gardens at Ooty. Coonoor is a Taluk and municipality in the Niligris district in the State of Tamil Nadu, India. Coonoor is at an altitude of 1850m above sea level and is the second largest hill station after Ooty. The compiler of the album was apparently stationed in Coonoor. The view of the town of Coonoor is marked with a small line showing where their cottage was located.

There is also an image identified as “Travancore”, which was an Indian Kingdom from 1729 to 1949 which at its zenith covered most of modern day central and southern Kerala, Kanyakumi District. In the early 19th century it became a princely state of the British Empire. The image shows a British colonial official, Indian laborers and armed Sepoy troops.      

The other loose image, is slightly later than the 1860s, based on costume style, and is identified on the verso as “Mrs. Ashmore her daughter, her son – his wife & daughter.”

  

The remaining images in the album are of houses, people and localities in England, some, as in the image below, are marked “Cockington?” in pencil on the mounting leaf. Cockington is in Devon. There are also images of localities which are probably in Scotland.

Inventory of Images, in order, with captions and sizes:

 

 

1.     “The Great Brother of Shouay Dagon on the upper platform (Rangoon)” measures 7 ⅝ x 6 ⅝ inches

2.     “Entrance to Shingodama’s Pagoda Kenindine” signed “W.S. .58”, measures 6 ⅝ x 7 ⅛ inches.

3.     “Part of the upper Platform of the Shouay Dagon”, [Rangoon, Burma] measures 6 ½ x 7 ¾ inches.

4.     “North side of Pagoda from the upper Platform” [Rangoon, Burma] measures 8 ⅝ x 6 ⅝ inches.

5.     “South entrance to the Shouay Dagon” [Rangoon, Burma] measures 6 ⅛ x 7 ⅝ inches.

6.     “West entrance to Shouay Dagon” [Rangoon, Burma] measures 6 x 7 ¼ inches.

7.     “Lyator Traveller’s House – Tennyen” measures 6 x 8 ⅜ inches.

8.     “View in the village of Tennywn” measures 6 ¼ x 7 ⅝ inches.

9.     “Kyoung in Kenindine” measures 5 ⅝ x 8 ½ inches.

10.  “Back view of the civil Treasury” measures 5 ⅝ x 8 ¼ inches.

11.  “On the Kenindine Road” faded signature at bottom right corner, “W ? 58” measures 4 ¾ x 8 ⅝ inches

12.  Pooghley? Houses in Kenindine” 6 ¼ x 8 ¼ inches

13.  “Col. Stevensons garden & part of Backwater with Sepoy gardeners &c – Guilon” measures 4 ⅝ x 5 ⅝ inches.

14.  “Mr. Liddells grounds & landing place on Backwater Guilon” measures 4 ⅝ x 5 ⅝ inches.

15.  [uncaptioned view of the Five Rathas Mahabalipuram] measures 6 x 8 ¼ inches.

16.  [uncaptioned view Descent of the Ganges, rock carving, Mahabalipuram] measures 6 x  8 ¼ inches.

17.  [uncaptioned view Mahabalipuram] measures 5 ¼ x 8 ⅜ inches.

18.  [uncaptioned view Mahabalipuram] measures 5 ¼ x 8 ⅜ inches.

19.  [uncaptioned view of Rathas, Mahabalipuram] measures 5 ⅞ x 8 ¼ inches.

20.  [uncaptioned view, Rathas, Mahabalipuram] measures 6 ⅛ x 8 ½ inches.

21.  [uncaptioned view, one of the Rathas, Mahabalipuram] measures 5 ⅝ x 8 inches.

22.  [uncaptioned view, Indians one climbing palm tree, Mahabalipuram] measures 6 x 8 ½ inches

23.  [uncaptioned view, structure at Mahabalipuram] measures 8 ⅛ x 5 ¾ inches.

24.  [uncaptioned view, one of the Rathas, Mahabalipuram, with a group of Indians] measures 7 x 6 ⅜ inches.

25.  [uncaptioned view, one of the Rathas, Mahabalipuram, with Indians] measures 6 ⅜ x 7 ⅝ inches.

26.  “1 Dr. Kelly, 2 Mr Coningham, 3 Major Kitson, 4 Mr Cox, 5 Lt Col Lys, 6 Capt. Barwise, 7 <r Beauchamp, 8 Mr. Fisher, 9 Capt Menars” measures 2 ¾ x 2 ½ inches

27.  [uncaptioned group portrait, including several men in the image above, with the addition of several women and girls, clearly taken in India] measures 2 ¾ x 2 ½ inches.

28.  “Mission Church – Palamcottah – from the compound of the Training Institution” measures 3 ¾ x 5 ⅜ inches.

29.  [uncaptioned image of Mission Church, with white missionaries and Indians on church steps, Indian coach drivers] measures 6 ⅛ x 8 ¼ inches.

30.  “Waterfall – Penang” measures 3 ⅝ x 2 ¼ inches.

31.  “Church – Penang” measures 2 ⅜ x 3 ⅝ inches

32.  “Fort at Penang from the sea” measures 2 ¼ x 3 ⅝ inches.

33.  “Landing Place – Penang” measures 2 ⅜ x 3 ⅝ inches.

34.  “From Dak Bungalow, Dharmsala – 1865” measures 4 ¼ x 3 ⅜ inches.

35.  “Mountain Lodge, Dharmsala 1865” measures 6 x 8 inches\

36.  [uncaptioned image, unidentified Indian temple structure] measures 2 ⅝ x 2 ⅝ inches

37.  [uncaptioned image of unidentified Indian temple structure] measures 5 ¼ x 2 ⅞ inches.

38.  [uncaptioned image, unidentified small-town British street scene] measures 3 ⅝ x 6 ½ inches

39.  [uncaptioned image of British home, with inhabitants or servants outside] measures 4 ¼ x 5 ¾ inches

40.  [uncaptioned image, view of grounds, possibly home above, with servant at work] measures 5 ¾ x 4 ¼ inches

41.  [uncaptioned image, view of two women walking on the grounds of a home, possibly that above] measures 5 ¾ x 4 ¼ inches

42.  [uncaptioned image, unidentified British church, beside a lake] measures 2 ⅜ x 3 ⅝ inches

43.  [uncaptioned image view of British home and grounds] measures 3 ¾ x 5 ½ inches.

44.  “Cockington?” depicts the inhabitants of a British home with croquet mallets, measures 3 x 3 ⅛ inches

45.  “Cockington?” view of the above home, measures 2 ⅜ x 3 ¼ inches

46.  [uncaptioned image of road through rocky terrain] measures 3 x 2 ¾ inches

47.  [uncaptioned image, different view of the above place] measures 3 x 2 ¾ inches

48.  [uncaptioned image, view of stone bridge and home in rural England] measures 4 x 5 ¾ inches

49.  [uncaptioned image, group portrait of British children outside a Church or home] measures 2 ⅛ x 3 ⅝ inches

50.  [uncaptioned image, view of British home and grounds, occupants playing croquet] measures 2 ¾ x 3 ¾ inches

51.  [uncaptioned image, view of British or Scottish town, rocky hills in the background] measures 4 ¼ x 5 ¾ inches

52.  [uncaptioned image, view of British or Scottish town] measures 4 ⅛ x 6 ¾ inches

 

Loose Images:

 

53.  “Shewe Dagon Pagoda Rangoon (Taken from Road running South from Pagoda into Rangoon)” measures 8 ⅞ x 7 inches

54.  “Shewe Dagon Pagoda Rangoon from Cantonment Gardens Public Gardens Rangoon] measures 8 ⅞ x 6 ⅞ inches

55.  “Travancore” image depicts British official with Indian workers and armed Sepoys, measures 6 ⅛ x 7 ⅞ inches

56.  “Irama. Basket making at the foot of the Hills, & large bamboos growing near” measures 6 ⅛ x 8 ⅛ inches.

57.  “Conoor Market” measures 7 x 9 ½ inches

58.  [uncaptioned image, view of Coonoor] measures 7 x 9 ½ inches.

59.  [uncaptioned image, gardens at Ooty] measures 6 ⅞ x 9 ⅝ inches

60.  [uncaptioned image, view of unidentified British church and grounds] measures 6 ⅞ x 9 ⅝ inches

61.  “Mrs Ashmore her 80th – his wife & daughter” measures 5 ⅞ x 7 ⅝ inches.