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

Folio, album containing 61 photographs, nine of which are loose, 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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This very interesting album contains early photographic views of locations in Burma, India, both southern and northern, Penang, and in the compiler’s native England.

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 or on laid in sheets of paper with a numbered key. Most of the photographs are large, ranging in size from 9 x 7 inches to 2 ½ x 3 ½ inches at the smallest. 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.

      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, and 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.”



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.


        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 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 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.