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Views of India album, between 1857 and 1863

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Views of India album

Scope and Content of Collection

The album contains 54 views of central and northern India that appear to have been taken by a skilled amateur photographer. Present are views of forts and gateways (Kalinjar; Chunar; Bharigarh), palaces, temples (Khajuraho; Bhadaura), ghats, landscapes and waterfalls. Locales depicted include places in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttaarakhand, and Madhya Pradesh such as Mirzapur, Banda, Chunar, Punnah, and Mussorie. One photograph depicts the Nagoda chief in Durbar, while another shows cotton weighing in Mirzapur. The British presence in the area is evident in a few images such as those showing "Mckinnon's house" and "our garden at Kingscraig," both in Mussoorie; the Rewa survey station at Kalinjir Fort, and the church at Banda.

Two cartes-de-visite are associated with the fly leaf, which bears the dedication: To the Revd. Edward Cole, M.A. / from Edmund & William Bellairs, / in memory of a kind deed. / October, 1863. The carte-de-visite adhered below the dedication portrays a seated man with a young girl standing between his legs, and has a handwritten caption attached to its lower edge that reads: Capt. E. H. Bellairss & Cassandra. The second carte-de-visite, inserted at the page opening, is a portrait of an unidentified man seated at a desk and writing in a book. The photographer's imprint on its verso reads: Mason & Co. / 28, Old Bond Street, London / 9 Promenade Villas, Cheltenham / 20 St. Giles Street, Norwich.

Two notes from different hands and dates are also inserted in the album. The older note, written in pencil on buff laid paper, describes the making of the Banda & Kirnie (?) prize money. The second, written in ink on blue paper lists the accomplishments of Professor Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin, the winner of the 1964 Nobel Prize for Chemistry.

The album was bound in diced calf gilt by J. R. Brooks of London (blind stamp on front paste-down), with gilt spine and edges and a brass catch and clasp on the foredge. The front cover bears the gilt monogram E. C. C.

Eighteen of the photographs are numbered in the negative, 13 of which have the monogram: WM. One photograph displays the monogram, but no number. Due to the placement of the numbers and monograms near the bottom edge of the image it seems likely that in other cases monograms and numbers have been cropped from the prints.

English captions are pencilled on the mounts.


Arranged in a single series:
Series I. Views of India album, between 1857 and 1863.

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