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Henry Marsh Pratt album, 1858-1906

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Pratt (Henry Marsh) Album

Scope and Content of Collection

The album, which Lieutenant Colonel Henry Marsh Pratt of the Bengal Staff Corps began compiling in 1868, offers a highly personal record of Pratt's professional and family life and connections in both India and England. Depictions of the Pratt family of Norfolk, England, with frequent appearances by Henry Marsh Pratt, and views of country homes associated with the Pratt family circle made by both unidentified amateur and professional photographers, are mingled with views of India, including images taken by an amateur photographer(s) in which Pratt is present, as well as those made by professional photographers such as Samuel Bourne, Charles Shepherd, and William Henry Baker (also represented as W. Baker & Co. and Baker & Burke), and with carte-de-visite-sized (i.e. mostly unmounted) portraits and views by photographers working in Europe and India, including André-Adolphe-Eugène Disdéri; Charles H. Reutlinger; Hills & Saunders; the London Stereoscopic Company; and Window & Bridge. The album was added to into the early twentieth century. Contributions to it were made by members of the extended Pratt family, who are referenced throughout the album.

The album contains 22 large photographs; 52 photographs of various smaller sizes; 74 carte-de-visite-sized photographs; and six prints in various media. Two loose photographs were also inserted in the album. Also in the album are four watercolor sketches of country homes (one signed "Eva" and another "Evelyn Faskin," both likely by Pratt's youngest sister Evelyn): three are of homes in England and one is of H. M. Pratt's home in Abbottabad, India. Twenty-four pages of the album are decorated with watercolor borders signed variously B. & L.; Eva; L. L. P. (Laura Louisa Pratt); and Harriet Pratt. The borders range from geometric designs, some of an Indian or eastern nature, to florals, and to charming vignettes and motifs that often relate to the photographs they surround. For example, views of the Gaynes Park manor house are bordered with depictions of fruits, vegetables, and agricultural motifs, while the photographs of the 1871-1872 Edwardesabad hunt season are surrounded by hunt scenes and devices.

Indian subjects include views of Kashmir (Srinagar, the Jhelum River, and the Himalayas) and Dharamshala; a view of the Taj Mahal; group portraits of Kashmiri Nautch girls, Tibetans, and Affreedies (Khyber Rifles); and two group portraits related to HRH Edward, Prince of Wales's visit to India in 1876. Wales himself appears seated in the center of the large group assembled in Lahore. The album also contains views of Sandringham, his country home in Norfolk. Carte-de-visite-sized portraits of personages with connections to India include British army officers, doctors, and others associated with the Punjab and Sikh regiments of the North West Frontier Expeditions; military wives; Indian officers such as Subadar Major Gomandha Singh and Mahammad Hayat Khan; and the explorer and author Robert Shaw and his daughter, Clara Shaw Younghusband, who appear in Central Asian dress. Most of these portraits are found in the later pages of the album along with portraits of friends and family members, actors, courtesans, royalty (Napoleon III; Empress Eugénie; Louis Napoléon, Prince Impérial; Prince George, Duke of Cambridge; Princess Alexandra of Denmark), and other English and European personalities of the day.

A few images are unrelated to either England or India. The album opens with two views of the pyramids of Gizeh by Wilhelm Hammerschmidt. Found in later pages of the album are two full plate views of Hyrès, France, signed G. J.

The album is half bound in dark brown calf with gilt tooling and brown pebble-grained cloth boards. In most cases English captions are written on the album mounts above or below the images; these captions are used as image titles unless otherwise noted.

Arrangement

The collection is arranged in a single series:
Series I. Henry Marsh Pratt album, 1858-1906.




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