Ethnographical Photography in India 1850-1900
by John Falconer
Reproduced with permission from John Falconer, now at the Oriental and India Office Collections of the British Library, London.
Originally published 1984 in Photographic Collector 5(1):16-46.
Most of the photographs reproduced here are more or less cropped.
Those interested mostly in photography carried out in the Andaman Islands are referred to the last part of this article.
L'étude des races humaines est une de celles qui intéressent le plus la science. Combien de types le moindre photographe portraitiste ne réunite-il pas dans ses portefeuilles! Nous l'avons dit, on fait de la photographie dans tous les pays du monde; les portraits faits dans l'Inde, en Afrique, en Russie, partout enfin, suffiraient à composer une ample collection de types des races vivantes, en supposant qu'on ne fit pas des epreuves specialement destinés a cet usage. (1)
Thus Ernest Lacan, commenting on the anthropological photographs made by Louis Rousseau and shown at the Paris Exhibition of 1855: already photography was seen as 'an important tool in the comparative study of the races of mankind, with portraits of Hottentot, Chinese and Russian types gathered together for analysis and instruction, and with French scholars and travellers in particular quick to grasp the advantages photography offered in the delineation of foreign races. An important early published use of photography in this field is well seen in the 55 lithographs from daguerreotypes of Africans taken by Chief Yeoman of Signals (Chef de Timonerie) Vernet during the voyages of the brig Ducouëdic 1846-1848. (2) Forty years later, towards the close of the century, Everard im Thurn assessed the uses of photography in anthropological investigation in a paper delivered to the Anthropological Institute in 1893.(3) Himself a skilled practitioner of the craft in his work with the natives of British Guiana, he was well placed to judge the contribution photography had made in the fifty years since its invention, and identified two strains of work in the field - its use in taking physiological photographs, on a fixed scale, of the human figure, in certain definite positions, and of simultaneously measuring that figure', and the more difficult task of recording the members of other cultures as living individuals. The first, more mechanical documentation, although more complicated than commonly supposed, was in his opinion, 'of quite sufficiently recognised importance', while the second, which called for artistic and human skills beyond the purely photographic was
indeed a far more difficult proceeding, one much more seldom practised by anthropologists, and one the utility of which for anthropology, regarded, as we all wish to regard it, as an exact science, some anthropologists will, I fancy, be at first sight inclined to question. (4)
Plate 1. John McCosh. Indian Type, Burma, 1852/3.
The value of photography to anthropology was also emphasized by the greater contact between the European and aboriginal races. The great period of European colonial expansion in the latter half of the nineteenth century coincided with the growth and spread of photography, and the camera thus became the natural successor to the engraving and the lithograph as the vehicle for the dissemination of visual information concerning European contacts with other races. While the motives, both scientific and artistic, behind this documentation varied both in approach and thoroughness, a[most all the photographs thus produced were informed with a strong sense of the need to capture the images of cultures rapidly changing and often disintegrating before the impact of an alien civilization and technology. Such a sense is most explicitly apparent in the circular despatched by the Colonial Office in 1869 requesting photographs of the inhabitants of British dependencies, and in the portraits by Charles Woolley of the last surviving Tasmanian aborigines (1866), but it is also present in John William Lindt's studio photographs of New South Wales natives (c. 1872), the photographs taken by the Royal Engineers in Western Canada (1860-61) and those taken by Gardner and Jackson for the U.S. Geological Survey of Territories in the l870s. In India, with its multiplicity of races and tribes and an assured and settled British presence interested in its history and culture, photography received an enthusiastic welcome and work was produced in both of im Thurn's categories which, both in terms of quality and quantity, remains unsurpassed in the nineteenth century.
Plate 2. John McCosh. Indian, Type, Burma, 1852/3.
Plate 3. John McCosh. Burmese girl, 1852/3.
Plate 4. William Johnson and William Henderson. Mussulman, Bombay, ca. 1856.
Plate 5. William Johnson and William Henderson. Knifegrinders, Bombay, ca. 1856.
Plate 6. William Johnson and William Henderson. Parbhu women, Bombay, ca. 1856.
Plate 7. William Johnson and William Henderson. Bhats, Bombay, ca. 1856.
In a paper entitled On the applications of photography in India, (5) read before the Photographic Society of Bengal in October 1856, the Reverend Joseph Mullins enumerated the various subjects to which photographers of that body should address themselves: with prescient thoroughness he advocated the use of photography in such diverse fields as police work, medicine, astronomy and for the recording of the progress of public works. The greater part of his talk, however, was devoted to outlining a comprehensive programme of photography to capture a11 the minute varieties of Oriental Life: of Oriental Scenery, Oriental nations and Oriental manners', a project supported by the deep and growing interest now felt in Europe in everything Indian'. The scope of Mullins' proposals was far-reaching: photographers should build up portfolios of native dress and manners, make genre studies of trades, industries and occupations, and depict representative samples of housing and transport. The inexhaustible variety of Indian life offered particular opportunities in the specifically ethnographical field:
The population itself will supply those who have portrait cases with abundance of illustrations. One set may give an entire set of house servants; another, specimens of the different nations and races of India in particular, and of Asia in genera[. No city in the wor[d gives such facilities for this as Calcutta, un[ess it be Bombay. Another could give us a clear and complete view of the different costumes, showing the mode in which they are worn and in which they are fastened. On this point our English artists are dreadfully at fault.
Plate 8. Shepherd and Robertson. Delhi jeweller and shawl maker, ca. 1862.
Some of the earliest surviving photographs from the subcontinent testify to the early application of photography to the study of man. The East India Company surgeon John McCosh (1805-1885) was photographing during the Second Sikh War of 1848-49; in a later campaign, the Second Burmese War of 1852-53, McCosh was again an active photographer and as well as taking landscape, architectural and military scenes, illustrated his own interest in ethnological matters with a series of portraits of Indian, Burmese and African types, several of which are posed in full face and profile in the approved scientific manner (plates l-3). (6) McCosh's work in this field illustrates the view of ethnological material as a distinct theme to be treated photographically and indicates a trend continued throughout the century.
Commercial daguerreotype studios began to be advertised in India from around 1849 (7), but the growth of professional photography only started in earnest with the introduction of Frederick Scott Archer's wet collodion process in 1851 and the subsequent relaxation of patents imposed on their discoveries by both Daguerre and Fox Talbot. Allied to a popular amateur interest in photography, exemplified in the founding of photographic societies in all three presidencies in the mid-1850s, several Important commercial firms were in business by the late 1850s and early 1860s: apart from European portraiture, the main emphasis of this work appears to have been largely directed towards the documentation of architecture and topography, enthusiasms later to be incorporated within the Archaeological Survey of India, and an unsurprising choice of subject given the state of the art and the consequent difficulties of communicating to often unwilling sitters the necessity for stillness of pose. Of the 460 items gathered from the three presidencies for the 1857 exhibition of the Photographic Society of Bengal, only a small proportion featured the races of India and these were largely the contribution of one man, Dr Narain Dajee, a professional photographer and a council member of the Bombay Photographic Society. Dajee exhibited 30 prints, including studies of fakirs, snake charmers, musicians and soldiers (8) but the overall lack of this type of material was noted by the organisers:
The castes and costumes of the Natives of the country have not yet received, as evidenced by the Exhibition, that attention which they deserve, and which they will no doubt in time obtain . (9)
Plate 9. Shepherd and Robertson. Udasees or fakirs, ca. 1862.
Plate 10. Shepherd and Robertson. Hermaphrodites, ca. 1862.
Plate 11. Shepherd and Robertson. Snake charmers, ca. 1862.
Two other Bombay photographers had however by this time started to make some attempt to supply this want. William Johnson had arrived in Bombay as a junior civil servant around 1848, and by 1852 was operating a daguerreotype studio in Grant's Road. Johnson was also a founder member of the Bombay Photographic Society and it is in connection with this body that the earliest published photographic studies of Indian types appeared. In 1856 Merwanjee Bomonjee requested permission to publish The Indian amateurs photographic album under the society's patronage. The request was granted but the album was eventually published by Johnson and William Henderson, the latter a clerk, book-keeper and photographer who was briefly in partnership with Johnson in the mid1850s.
Plate 12. (probably) Nicholas and Curths. Fakir, 1860s.
Plate 13. (probably) Nicholas and Curths. Fakir, 1860s.
Plate 14. A.T.W. Penn. Toda family, Nilgiri Hills, 1870s.
Plate 15. A.T.W. Penn. Aboriginal group, Nilgiri Hills (?possibly Badagas), 1870s.
Running for 24 issues between December 1856 and October 1858, each number contained three prints with descriptive letterpress. A number of Bombay photographers, both amateur and professional, were represented, with Johnson and Henderson, contributing a series of prints entitled Costumes and characters of Western India, ranging from individual portraits of considerable power to 'genre' groups of Indian tlypes posed with the tools of their trades (plates 4-5). One of I the most interesting aspects of this early work is the use made of these photographs by .lohnson a few years later. Declaring that 'photographic delineations of the numerous Peoples and Tribes frequenting ... Bombay ... have long been desiderata both among students of geography and ethnography, and the lovers of art, notwithstanding partial attempts to supply them made by various local amateurs', he published The oriental races and tribes, residents and residents and visitors of Bombay (2 vols., London 1863 and 1866). By a fairly crude use of montage and retouching he placed many of the figures seen in The Indian amateurs photographic album against Bombay backgrounds (using his own landscape photographs) or against hastily sketched-in foliage. Johnson's original enthusiasm appears to have waned, or possibly the volumes were not well-received, since the projected third volume never appeared. His negatives appear to have been acquired at some stage in the 1860s by Francis Frith and several of time prints were then published for a third time in Frith's India series, some appearing with bleached-out backgrounds evidently worked on by Johnson for the montages in his earlier book (10) (plates 6-7). Johnson's work provides an important and curious example of a photographer whose output was conceived both on a straightforward commercial level - the supplying of illustrations and souvenirs of the exotic east - and as a contribution to the growing scientific interest in ethnological investigation.
Plate 16. A.T.W. Penn. Barbers by the roadside (?Mysore), 1870s.
Plate 17. A.T.W. Penn. Basket makers, Nilgiri Hills, 1870s.
Plate 18. Toda group, Nilgiri Hills. Frontispiece to Captain Henry Harkness "A description of a singular aboriginal race inhabiting the summit of the Neilgherry Hills" (London, 1832).
Plate 19. Nicholas and Curths. Toda man, Nilgiri Hills, ca. 1870s. Collotype reproduction from W.E. Mareshall "A phrenologist among the Todas" (London, 1873).
Plate 20. Samuel Bourne. Todamund near Ootacamund, ca. 1865.
Plate 21. Samuel Bourne. Bhooteas at Darjeeling, ca. 1865.
Plate 22. Samuel Bourne. Kashmiri Nautch girls, 1864.
Plate 23. Samuel Bourne. Dogras in full dress, ca.
(Handwritten note: central figure is Alexander Haughton Gardner, 1799-1877).
The photographing of racial types and the production of genre studies is continued in the work of all the major firms operating in India from the 1860s well into the present century. Shepherd and Robertson, the original embodiment of the firm which was later to become Bourne and Shepherd, produced a fine series of such studies in the early 1860s, with figures posed to display their characteristic attributes and artefacts (plates 8-11). Nicholas and Curths, one of the longest established Madras firms, produced similar series of prints as well as individual studies of some of the more outlandish Indian sects. (11) Some of John P. Nicholas' photographs of fakirs, for instance, received commendation for their 'curious' qualities when shown at the Madras Photographic Society Exhibition of 1858. (12) (plates 12-13). Also important is the work of Albert Thomas Watson Penn (1849-1924), active in Ootacamund from around 1875, who made many portraits of the Toda people of the Nilgiri Hills as well genre studies of Indian trades and occupations in the Madras area (plates 14-17). Samuel Bourne (1834-1912), the most famous of the European photographers in India and probably the most successful commercially, also interspersed his landscape and architectural work with India portraits and groups (plates 20-23). Between 1863 and 1870 Bourne carved out a reputation as the most determined and technically brilliant professional photographer in India, and in spite of an almost total lack of sympathy for the inhabitants of the country produced many fine portraits of its native races. The difficulties he encountered while attempting to photograph a group of Kashmiri nautch girls illustrates something of Bourne's own attitudes and the problems faced by photographers in general:
By no amount of talking and acting could I get them to stand or sit in an easy, natural attitude . . . The English Commissioner resident at Srinnugur . . . gave an order to have a number of the best-looking girls collected, of whom I was to take a group. They were very shy at making their appearance in daylight, as, like the owl, they are birds of night. They came decked out in all their rings and jewellery. and all their silk holiday attire; but, on taking a cursory glance at them when they were all assembled, with the exception of two or three, one could not help coming to the conclusion that if these were the prettiest, the rest must be miserably ugly. Much to my annoyance, a number of gentlemen had assembled 'to see the fun', and their presence by no means added to the composure of my fair sitters. They squatted themselves down on the carpet which had been provided for them, and absolutely refused to move an inch for any purpose of posing; so, after trying in vain to get them into something like order, was obliged to take them as they were, the picture, of course, being far from a good one . . . (13) (plate 22).
Such difficulties were a common source of complaint although, as Captain Cookesley of the Royal Artillery discovered while serving with the Lushai Expedition of 1871-72, they could be caused as much by incomprehension as by fear:
The camera was set up and focussed on the house, and then the Lushai were allowed to file behind it, looking through as they passed, and great was their wonder and delight when they saw the house and their friends about it turned upside down.
. . . Cookesley found it impossible to get figures in his pictures. The noble savage would stand motionless for half-an-hour while the plate was being prepared, but just as the cap was removed, he would calmly stroll right across the picture, and we could not explain to them what they were to do. (14)
The common factor in the work of all these photographers is their reliance on the conventions and attitudes of the earlier forms of visual art with which they coexisted for a time and finally superseded: the same themes, treated in almost identical fashion, recur again and again - snake charmers, fakirs, resplendent nobles, trades, customs and costumes, all familiar to the British vision of India, predominate: subjects which had illustrated travellers' memoirs and diaries over the whole period of British influence in the sub-continent. Something of the way in which conventional artistic ideas were applied to photography, and the desired fusion of artistic arrangement and photographic reality, is emphasized in the criticisms aimed at some of the entries in the Bengal Photographic Society Exhibition of 1864:
If an artist were about to make studies of the various native servants, his first care would be that of selection to get 'fine specimens', or at least to avoid exceptionally mean ones. Then he would give to each man that pose and action most characteristic of his occupation, and lastly, he would secure an effective disposition of light and shade to accord with the action of the figure, whether quiet or energetic. (15)
Plate 24. Alexander Melville. Monks of Ladakh, ca. 1862.
Plate 25. Alexander Melville. Mystery play performers, Ladakh, ca. 1862.
Plate 26. Mr. Lears. Sowrah group, ca. 1865.
Plate 27. Benjamin Simpson. Group of Mizhu or Kiju Mishmis,
Assam, 1867/8. A photograph used as plate VI in Edward Dalton
"Descriptive ethnology of Bengal" (Calcutta, 1872):
Of the Mishmi tribes who are in habits of intercourse with Asam, the Miju or Mizhu live in the farthest East. In their commercial journeys between Asam and Tibet, they cross the snowy range, and so appear in warmer vestments than are in use between the tribes who seldom quit the valley. The long coats of the male figures are of woolen fabrics, or mixed wool and nettle fibre. The white frontlet on the forehead of the girl is a thin plate of silver; the coil round her neck of thick brass wire. The weapons shown are long spears, dirks and straight swords, the latter and their pipes of brass are of Tibetan manufacture.
Plate 28. Benjamin Simpson. Digaru Mishmis, Assam, 1867/8.
Plate VI in Edward Dalton "Descriptive ethnology of Bengal"
The dress of a Mishmi is, first a strip of cloth bound around the loins and passing between the legs and fastened in front; a coat without sleeves, like a herald's tabard, reaching from the neck to the knee, - this is made of one piece of blue or brown striped cloth doubled in the middle, the two sides sewn together like a sack leaving space for the exist of the arms, and a slit in the middle, formed in the weaving, for the passage of the head; - two pouches covered with fur attached to leather shoulder-belts, with large brass plates before and behind, like cymbals; a knapsack ingeniously contrived to fit the back, covered with the long black fibres of the great sago palm of these hills, and further decorated with the tail of a Tibetan cow; a long straight Tibetan sword; several knives and daggers, and a very neat light spear, - head of well-tempered,, finely wrought iron attached to a long thin polished shaft. The head-dress is sometimes a fur cap, sometimes a wicker helmet, the women wear a coloured cloth fastened loosely round the waist, which reaches to the knees, and a very scanty bodice which supports without entirely covering the breasts. They wear a profusion of beads, not only of common glass but of cornelian agate and some of porcelain.
While this and other work continued to be produced and sold throughout the century, the growth of scientific interest in ethnology introduced new elements which built on these picturesque and exotic studies: particularly, an explicitly documentary approach and a move towards the recording of the lesser known aboriginal groups. The young science of ethnology owed its institutional origins to the humanitarian impulses embodied in the Aborigines Protection Society, founded in 1833 'to promote the spread of civilization and the protection of their rights'. By the early 1840s the emphasis had shifted to the study rather than the protection of aboriginal tribes and this resulted in the formation in 1843 of a specifically scientific body, the Ethnological Society of London (in France, the Société Ethnologique de Paris had been founded some four years earlier in 1839). Professional and ideological antagonisms ultimately led to the formation of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain in l87l, (16) and one major source of argument and controversy, with all its religious, moral and political overtones has bearing on photography's place in ethnological investigation. The argument over the descent of the races of mankind from a single or various sources - 'monogenistic' versus 'polygenistic' theories - also has a particular relevance to India since much attention at this time was focussed on the sub-continent as the possible cradle of mankind. The foundations of research into India's history and cultures had been largely laid by the great oriental scholar and polymath Sir William Jones, who had arrived in Calcutta in 1783 and founded the Bengal Asiatic Society the following year. The study of ethnology largely followed the lines of the literary and historical methods employed by Jones and succeeding scholars, the primary method of research being comparative linguistic analysis. In the 1840s and 1850s, with the increasing familiarity and interaction with a multiplicity of races, this was greatly displaced by physical comparisons between the various tribes, to the extent that by 1865 it was recognised that 'the appearance; which can be so well preserved and conveyed by Photographs' was, along with language, social customs and osteology, one of the four main divisions of enquiry'. (17) However, the lack of illustrative material on the subject revealed by this change of direction proved a problem. Writing in 1857, George Gliddon bemoaned the want of accurate representations (whether paintings, engravings or photographs) of the branches of mankind needed for the preparation of his 'Ethnographic Tableau', pointing out that while engravings often accurately recorded details of dress, artists habitually 'Europeanise' the most important point, the physical features:
They tend irresistibly to give him, more or less, the expression of those European faces which they are accustomed to reproduce through the art of design. Hence proceed all those likenesses of native races, from different parts of the world, that ordinarily resemble Europeans accoutred in a queer costume, and besmeared with yellow, brown, black . . . The Artists, naturally ignorant of physiognomical diversity beyond the small circle of races within their personal cognizances, having given European features to every variety of man; so that, according to each designer's country, all nations are made to assume French. English, or German faces. (18)
The tendency is well illustrated in the frontispiece to Captain Henry Harkness' A description of a singular aboriginal race inhabiting the summit of the Neilgherry Hills . . . (London, 1832), whose overall impression, both in general feeling and detail, is decidedly European rather than Indian, the only feature rendered with tolerable accuracy being the hair (plate 18). The taking of plaster casts of busts and faces, first systematically applied to Melanesian and Polynesian types by Dumoutier during the cruise of the Astrolabe of 1837-40, had obviated this difficulty to some extent, but the distortion of the features and the lack of expression in the eyes led Emile Blanchard to recommend the taking of daguerreotypes to accompany each specimen. (19) In addition, commending the photographs of Déveria, Rousseau and Jacquart at the Musée d'Histoire Naturelle at Paris, Gliddon advocated the disbursement of government money in order that a photographic Galerie Anthropologique could be systematically compiled,
with official instructions to her consuls, chiefs of expeditions, governors, and naval commanders, scattered over the world, to collect - at national expense - coloured photographs (front, back, and profile) of all types of man, male and female, within their several reach, - and executed upon an uniform scale, according to rules of measurement, &c . . (20)
Photography, in France at least, was thus considered a potentially indispensible ethnographical tool.
Plate 29. Benjamin Simpson. A Miju of Mizhu Mishmi in
undress, Assam, 1867/8. Plate VIIIA in Edward Dalton "Descriptive
ethnology of Bengal" (Calcutta, 1872):
The mishmi men and women are inveterate smokers, they commence at the earliest possible age, and when they are not sleeping or eating they are certain to be smoking; they use brass pipes, many of them of Chinese manufacture. The Mishmis are a short sturdy race of fair complexion for Asiatics, well-knit features and as active as monkeys; they vary much in feature, generally exhibiting a rather softened phase of the Mongolioan type, but sometimes with regular, almost Aryan, features, the nose higher and nostrils longer than is usually seen in the Indo-Chinese races.
The intellectual excitements and controversies raging in Europe over new ethnological methods had been quickly communicated to India: in 1841 a letter from the recently formed Société Ethnographique de Paris entitled Instruction générale adressée aux voyageurs was forwarded for publication in the Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. (21) The publication of this compilation of data to be recorded by travellers who came into contact with aboriginal tribes is indicative of the shift of interest away from the more literary study of oriental curiosities and manners to the collection of material to illustrate physical types and the relationships between the races and tribes. Portraits of representative figures, in full face and profile, were requested, as was the collection of casts and skulls. On the founding of the Ethnological Society of London a similar, though more comprehensive document, Queries respecting the human race, to be addressed to travellers and others, also found a place in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal as an inducement to study 'the more savage races of India'. (22) The Schlagintweit-Sakünlünski brothers commissioned by the East India Company in 1853 to explore and survey in the Himalayas, made a large collection of plaster casts of Indian heads and although they also took photographs, some of which were reproduced as woodcuts in Hermann Schlagintweit-Sakünlünski's Reisen in Indien und Hochasien (1869), Emil Schlagintweit considered that casts 'offer a wider field of enquiry than mere photographs'.(23) This view does not appear to have been widely shared and Robert Hunt in England was swift to point out photography's advantages in this field:
Some recent travellers in the East have brought home a great number of casts of the faces of the different native tribes of the Himalaya range and the Thibetan valleys. The difficulty of transporting these has been very great. If these men had been instructed in the use of the camera, they would have equally served the science of ethnology, by obtaining and preserving photographic portraits of the peoples amongst whom they had travelled. (24)
In India itself, lithographs from photographs began to replace the unsatisfactory rough sketches which had previously been used to illustrate papers on ethnology and original prints, such as those taken of Andaman Islanders by Thepland and Bourne in 1867, were regularly passed round at meetings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. (25) In 1865 the journal itself was illustrated with ten original stereo halves taken by Captain Melville of the Trigonometrical Survey to accompany an article on mystery plays performed in Ladakh (26) (plates 24&endash;25).
Photography was seen not only as an adjunct to the various other tools of the science, but also as an end in itself with the publication of A short description of the hill tribe called Sowrahs (Madras, n.d. c. 1865), a scanty two page pamphlet written by William Stanley Hooper to accompany a portfolio containing eight prints photographed by 'Mr Lears. an apothecary in the service of the Government' (plate 26). Publications such as this emphasize the amateur status of the majority of enthusiastic contributors to ethnological investigations, and this holds true for the most important fruit of photography's association with the subject, The people of India. Published in eight volumes between 1868 and 1875, this monumental work contained 479 prints pasted on to the page beside a descriptive letterpress written by Captain P. Meadows Taylor. Inspired by the photographic interests of Lord and Lady Canning who wished to make a collection of 'photographic illustrations, which might recall to their memories the peculiarities of Indian life',
officers of the Indian Services, who had made themselves acquainted with the principles and practice of photography, encouraged and patronised by the Governor-General, went forth, and traversed the land in search of interesting subjects.
In this way the design soon exceeded the dimensions of a mere private collection; but Lord Canning felt that its importance was sufficient to warrant official sanction and development . . . Some of the more important results appear in the present work. (27)
The work, using prints made from copy negatives rather than the originals, (28) was produced under the editorship of John Forbes Watson and John William Kaye of the India Museum. The (incomplete) list of 15 contributors given in the preface indicates the predominantly military status of the photographers: J. C. A. Dannenberg, Lieutenant R. H. De Montmorency, Reverend F. Godfrey, Lieutenant W. W. Hooper, Major Houghton, Captain H. C. McDonald, J. Mulheran, Captain Oakes, Reverend G. Richter, Shepherd and Robertson, Dr. B. Simpson, Dr. B. W. Switzer. Captain H. C. B. Tanner, Captain C. C. Taylor and Lieutenant J. Waterhouse. Several of these figures also made photographic contributions of importance in other fields. Over and above the general amateur enthusiasm for photography in India, the military representation in this list is partially explained by the fact that courses in photography had been given by Aaron Penley, the drawing master at the East India Company's college at Addiscombe, since l855: (29) Lord Canning's request for photographs could thus be carried out by that body of men most likely to come into contact with the more far-flung and isolated of the aboriginal population. Although the quality of the prints is uneven, the work should be seen in the context not only of the monogenistic and polygenistic theories then in circulation, but also of the attempts in Europe to make comprehensive illustrative 'atlases' of human types. Seen in this light the collection is a remarkable achievement both in photographic and ethnological terms, outshining all other contemporary schemes. Louis Rousseau, whose work in connection with the Paris Exhibition of 1855 has been briefly mentioned, took a great many studies of representatives of various races, intending to publish them dans ce grand livre qu'il commence (et dont chaque page sera tracée par la photographie)'. This grandiose compilation, which was to illustrate the whole ladder of creation from 'le zoophyte. écume vivante de la mer, jusqu'à l'homme, crée à l'image de Dieu', never appears to have seen the light of day.' (30) Similarly, the Marquis Hervey-Saint-Denys' Collection ethnographique . . . (1864), containing in each number the front, profile and rear view of a naked ethnological specimen photographed by Bayard and Bertall, appears to have foundered after only a few issues.
Plate 30. Tosco Pepé. Juang group, early 1870s.
This ideal of a comprehensive collection of ethnological types had in fact come to the fore in India shortly before the publication of The People of India: Canning's patronage of and enthusiasm for the collection of photographs of the native races had led to the circulation of memoranda requesting information and photographs for inclusion in the London International Exhibition of 1862, with instructions regarding the desired subjects:
The photographs should, if possible, represent all peculiar characteristics of costume of the various tribes, and where practicable, women should be represented as well as men. The heads of clans or tribes and particular sects should be photographed. (31)
These foundation were considerably extended by the proposal of Dr. Joseph Fayrer to the Bengal Asiatic Society in December 1865 for the 'bringing together, in one great ethnological exhibition, typical examples of the races of the old world'. Here booths would be constructed and 'without in any way degrading men and brethren', specimens would be placed in these stalls
like the boxes in a theatre or the shops in a bazaar: I would arrange, that on certain hours, on certain days, the Exhibitors, classified according to races and tribes, should sit each in his own stall, should receive and converse with the Public, and submit to be photographed, painted, taken off in casts, and otherwise reasonably dealt with in the interests of science. (32)
The ambitious purpose of this scheme was intended to form a scientific framework for a systematic study of Indian ethnology, a framework which had been constructed for other areas of research in the sub-continent but which up until that time had left ethnology to the uncoordinated investigations of individuals:
In the proposition. as it originally stands, it is intended to bring together in Congress typical examples of the races of man found scattered throughout the Asiatic Continent and the Pacific Archipelago; and in no other part of the world does man present such a diversity of physical, linguistic, and social characters - characters, however, which as yet are meaningless and unconnected . . . The council are of the opinion that one great reason why the science of ethnology has not progressed in ratio corresponding with that which, in past years, has characterized the advance of other and cognate sciences, is due to the fact that the natural history method has never as yet been applied to the elucidation of the various phenomena which ethnology offers for our observation and research. They believe that Dr. Fayrer's proposition is based upon an appreciation of this great want; and they feel convinced if the method which he has propounded for meeting it is carried out in an enlightened spirit, and countenanced by the support of a liberal Government, that ethnology will enter upon a brilliant career of discovery.
It is proposed to bring together typical examples of each race, and to make them the subject of careful and scientific description. Every physical character will be noted and registered by means of photographs and by plaster-of-paris casts, and the type of each spoken language will be described, determined, and the prominent social customs of each tribe will be described, and by applying the comparative system, or true natural history method, an attempt will be made to determine their affinities. (33)
Plate 31. Benjamin Simpson. A wandering minstrel, ca. 1872.
The plans for this extravagant human circus, which grew in flights of fancy to include representatives from China, Persia, Arabia and finally 'all the old world', not unnaturally elicited a lukewarm response from the Government of India when approached for practical help. While giving its blessing in general terms to the organisers, it injected a note of realism in pointing out the absence 'of more mature and definite proposals,' and, no doubt fearing 'the inconvenient political complications' which might result should any members of the tribes die while on the journey or in Calcutta, finally firmly disassociated itself from any concrete participation:
As to any direct interference on the part of Government in collecting specimens for a Congress, I am directed to observe that it is not a scheme which the Government of India can in any way undertake to carry out even partially, and it does not appear in what way the Government could legitimately assist in the matter beyond the action which has already been taken.
If the scheme can be carried out at all, it should apparently be effected by the efforts of the Society itself, and similar learned bodies, and by the aid of private individuals. (34)
The Government did however paved the way for the collection of important series of photographs by agreeing to send instructions to residents and other staff to supply details of the aboriginal tribes inhabiting their districts. Several of these, such as amateurs like Dr. William Eddowes (1827-1880) of the Bengal Medical Service, accompanied their reports with photographs, and a letter from Aeneas MacLeod Ross (1837-1885), Residency Surgeon at Cape Comorin, Travancore, demonstrates the enthusiastic and serious response of some photographers to this directive:
I have undertaken, at the desire of the British Resident, to collect information regarding the Ethnology of this country and of Cochin, and to illustrate it by photographs of typical examples of the people, public and religious buildings, and monuments, private dwellings, arms, musical instruments, etc. Of the typical people I propose taking of men and women, one full length photograph, and two of the bust, one being full face and the other profile - and one photograph of the top of the head. Of course photos of all the agricultural instruments will also be taken, and a few of the country, in order to give an idea of its general outline, as well as the way in which it may have modified race distinctions. (35)
Plate 32. Photographer unknown. The five hill tribes of the
Nilgiris (two Irulas, two Bagadas, two Todas, two Kotas, two
Author's handwritten note: from Breeks An account of the primitive tribes and monuments of the Niligiris)
The dream of the great ethnological congress faded away, but the impetus given to photography had important results in the publication of Edward Tuite Dalton's Descriptive ethnology of Bengal (Calcutta, 1872), illustrated with lithographs from the photographs of Dr. (later Sir) Benjamin Simpson (1831-1923). Simpson ranks as one of the most accomplished ethnographical photographers in nineteenth century India, and an early devotee of the craft whose work was much appreciated by his contemporaries. An early member of the Bengal Photographic Society, of which body he was elected a vice-president in 1862, his earliest exhibited works were mainly landscapes, (36) but he soon appears to have turned his attention largely to ethnographical portraiture. In 1862 he contributed the largest individual series of portraits to the London International Exhibition where his 80 native studies won him a gold medal, (37) and he probably continued this documentation when he was seconded for duty as medical officer with Sir Ashley Eden's mission to Bhutan in 1864 during which, in addition to his medical duties, he was charged with 'obtaining information as to the native population, and resources of the country . . . and on matters of scientific interest'. (38) To collect the material necessary for Dalton's work he was permitted leave of absence for a photographic journey to Assam from December 1867 to April 1868, Simpson paying for his photographic necessities, the Government of India contributing travelling expenses. (39) In the published volume the majority of the prints were reproduced from Simpson's work (plates 27-29), the remainder being supplied by Tosco Peppé (40) (plate 30) and Dr. Robert Brown. (41) Simpson's posting to Darjeeling as civil surgeon in 1862 also brought him into contact with a rich variety of north Indian types and resulted in such pictures as that of a Tibetan musician, exhibited at the Bengal Photographic Society Exhibition of 1872 entitled A wandering minstrel (plate 31), a portait which blends fine technique with a rare ability to capture spontaneity with lively sympathy. The style of Simpson's photographs was warmly commended and the balance he attained between the demands of art and science was outlined in the judges' report of the Bengal Photographic Society Exhibition of 1862:
There is another thing which we earnestly recommend, the adoption of a simple style of portrait taking, the superiority of which is amply shown in the artistic portraits of native heads here exhibited by Dr. Simpson. Of what value are the usual accessories of the profession and how vulgar do they make the pictures . . . It is better to be content with a head study and to adopt the vignette style which shades off to a tender background and allows of the half tints and gentlest shading being given to the faces. Much more sentiment can in this way be given to the head . . . We would advise young photographers not to overcrowd their pictures . . . but rather seek to convey in each picture a simple thought, action, or sentiment, and so to consider what they are about, as to make those who examine their prints, feel that the compositions are not the result of chance, but of careful forethought and of artistic study and comprehension. (42)
Simpson's photographic work was carried out in the intervals of a successful medical career, culminating in his appointment as Surgeon General to the Government of India in 1885. He retired in 1890.
The exceptional quality of Simpson's work is all the more apparent when compared with the bulk of material produced during the period, much of which is a testament to amateur, vaguely scientific enthusiasm rather than photographic excellence, an enthusiasm reflected in G. Campbell's statement in 1865 that in India ethnology was
the most popular and rising science of the day - so rising that I soon expect to find that, instead of collecting postage stamps, young ladies of an intellectual turn will collect nice little cabinets of Crania for the inspection of their friends. (43)
Views of comparative types, with a measuring pole diligently but uselessly placed in the background, demonstrate the approach of many of the soldiers and residents who utilised their photographic skills in the cause of ethnology (plate 32).
To the British in India the fullness of this ethnographical documentation had a clearly pragmatic as well as scientific purpose. The first communication from the Ethnological Society of London in 1844 had, in marked contrast to its earlier French counterpart, contained a decidedly down-to-earth view of the benefits of ethnological inquiry.
Such particulars will not only throw light on the character and origin of the people, but will, directly or indirectly, influence the commercial relations which may be profitably entered into when commerce alone is looked to. When colonisation is contemplated, the facts contained in the replies to these queries will point out the mutual advantages which might be obtained by preserving, instead of annihilating, the aboriginal population. (44)
Indeed, The people of India hints in its preface at the need for better understanding and therefore better government of the native population of the country after the upheavals of the mutiny a decade previously. The Archaeological Survey of India made extensive use of photography and John Forbes Watson, in his paper advocating the initiation of an organised programme for the compilation of information about India, indicated both the use of an ethnological survey in obtaining a 'moral hold' on the population and its complementary character to the ArchacologCial Survey:
An Ethnological Survey will resemble the Archaeological, in so far as its prime object will be a scientific one. Our knowledge of the various races inhabiting India, if abundant, is very deficient in the two respects which determine the scientific value of knowledge, i.e. completeness and precision. The inquiries hitherto made are rendered of little value from the want of systematic action and the use of method, and it is desirable that no time should be lost in securing the traces of many tribes now fast disappearing or losing their distinctive characteristics. This applies mainly to the aboriginal part of the population, to whom roads and railways and the extension of a regular Government now make access possible. (45)
As he emphasised however, ethnographical photographers had directed their efforts largely towards artistic representations rather than systematic investigation:
Another collection which might be easily prepared is an ethnological collection. The photographs contained in the work, The people of India, show a certain amount of the materials available for the purpose . . . All this, however, refers more to the popular and picturesque aspect of ethnology. The materials for a scientific basis by an exact measurement of the anatomical elements of the body and of the cranium are as yet utterly insufficient. (46)
The way in which photography could contribute scientifically to ethnology is clearly seen in the use of the checked grid or scale which appears in the work of a number of photographers working in India. The idea and its application, which would theoretically allow valid comparisons to be made between the various races of mankind, had been suggested by J. H. Lamprey, Librarian of the Royal Geographical Society,. in a short note in The Journal of the Ethnological Society of London in 1868:
A stout frame of wood, seven feet by three, is neatly ruled along its inner side into divisions ot two inches; smalI nails are driven into these ruled lines, and fine silk thread is strained over them, dividing the included surface by longitudinal and latitudinal lines into squares two inches each way. Against this screen the figure is placed, the heel fairly on a line with one of the strings . . . By means of such photographs the anatomical structure of a good academy figure or model of six feet can be compared with a Malay of four feet eight inches in height; and the study of all those peculiarities of contour which are so distinctly observable in each group, are greatly helped by this system of perpendicular lines, and they serve as good guides to their definition, which no verbal description can convey and but few artists could dilineate . . . Photographers on foreign stations would greatly assist us if they adopted the same plan . . . (47)
The use of this grid was recommended in several editions of the handbook Anthropological notes and queries and can be seen in some of the collotypes reproduced in William E. Marshall's A phrenologist among the Todas (London, 1873) (plate 19). The scale was also used in some of the 83 prints pasted into James Williamson Breeks' An account of the primitive tribes and monuments of the Niligiris, published in the same year by the India Museum. The preface to this volume, by Breeks' widow, ungraciously credits these 'indifferently executed' photographs to an unidentified Indian from the Madras School of Arts. In spite of George Gliddon's assertion that the British 'do not possess, amid the personnel of their Executive, men of education sufficiently refined to appreciate ethnology' - its true political value, or its eventual humanitarian influences' (48) this and other work demonstrate the serious use of the camera in ethnological investigations. In one particular area, the Andaman Islands, such photographic work remains one of the most extensive attempts to carry out a fully scientific ethnological survey with the camera, and demonstrates how dedicated many administrators were in combining methodical investigation with governmental duties.
The Andaman Islands, stretching across the Bay of Bengal between Burma and Sumatra and first taken into formal possession by the Government of India for use as a penal colony in 1789, proved to be a rich and virgin ethnological laboratory, peopled as they were by shy negrito aboriginaIs feared by sailors for 'their most determined savagery' and largely untainted by European contact. Information was thus eagerly sought by the ethnological community on the mainland and a captured islander, 'Jack', was brought to Calcutta by Frederic John Mouat, (49) who in 1857 had been sent to the islands to survey a new location for a penal settlement to contain rebels sentenced after the Mutiny. In Calcutta Jack was presented to Lord and Lady Canning and in the interests of science photographed 'in his native and original state' by Mr Pilleau and Mr Grant. (50) Photography's value in recording the characteristics of this 'very black, very ugly, very thick-lipped, very wretched and very savage race' (51) before they became influenced and altered by European manners was fully realised and parties were thereafter frequently brought across to Calcutta to be shown the sights, exhibited at the Asiatic Society and photographed for posterity. A meeting with the Viceroy also appears to have featured regularly on the itinerary:
The Zoological Gardens, Indian Museum, and most of the principal shops were visited by them, and they were most kindly treated by every one they met. His Excellency the Viceroy and Lady Elgin were kind enough to receive them in the Garden at Government House, where their archery, dances, and other peculiarities were shown and explained to a number of visitors. His Excellency ordered that a quantity of presents should be purchased and given to them, which was accordingly done. They took a keen interest in the Calcutta Races which they attended on three days, and, to get away from the crowd of natives who mobbed them and the better to see the finish for the Viceroy's Cup, they climbed, and sat in a tree opposite to the Grand Stand. (52)
In September 1865 J. N. Homfray, Assistant Superintendent in charge of the Andamanese Orphanage, came across with a group who were measured, displayed, and photographed by Saché and Westfield 'in groups, clothed, and in a naked state' (plate 33). The description of this photographic session illustrates how quickly the impact of colonisation modified behaviour, a characteristic already noted by Mouat:
At the studio of Messrs. Saché and Westfield. where several gentlemen - strangers to the Andanmanese, were present when the photographs were being taken, - we encountered positive difficulty, in inducing them to group themselves, stripped of their European clothes. That difficulty overcome, however, it was remarkable to observe how quickly they appreciated the fact that they were required to keep steady, and how willingly they did the best they could, when undergoing an ordeal, which is disagreeable even to those whose vanity it is pleasing, (53)
The necessarily conflicting aims of the ethnologist and the administrator, the one looking for man at his most 'uncivilised', the other attempting to lead him into social and commercial intercourse as quickly as possible, were resolved as far as they could be by the photographer, recording the life and customs of primitive tribes before they disappeared or were irrevocably altered.
Plate 33. Saché and Westfield. J.N. Homfray with
Andaman group a Calcutta, 1865.
Author's handwritten note: Jeremiah Nelson Homfray (1837-1883). Photo shown at Paris Exhibition of 1867.
The point is clearly demonstrated in the work of M.V. Portman (1861-1935), who was first appointed to the Andamans in 1879. In addition to writing a lengthy study of Andamanese languages and history, he offered in November 1889
to make the British Museum a series of photographs of the Andamanese aborigines, in their different occupations and modes of life; the photographs to be in platinotype, and, as far as possible, on 15" x 12" plates . . .
My object, in the photographic part, is to show every step in the making of a weapon, etc., so clearly, that with the assistance of the finished articles now in the British Museum, it would be possible for a European workman to imitate the mode of work. Attention is always drawn in the letterpress to any notable peculiarity which cannot be expressed photographically. (54)
Two copies of each volume were to be sent to the British Museum and a selected series, in triplicate, forwarded to the Government in India. 'Having regard to the approaching extinction of the race', an immediate start was made on the project, and by 1894 fifteen large volumes, 11 of photographs and four four of medical details and measurements, had been completed. The unprecedented ambitiousness of the scheme is noted in a letter to Portman from A. W. Franks of the British Museum:
You, however, have worked upon such a comprehensive scale, and have carried out your plans so entirely in accordance with the requirements of science, as to place your work far in advance of anything of the kind that has hitherto been done. (55)
The 'requirements of science' included photographing the Andamanese against the grid of two inch squares, making extensive and intimate notes on physique and demeanour, and taking measurements with a set of Tapinard's anthropometric instruments specially sent out by the British Museum. (56) Portman's work was indeed a monumental undertaking, and while carried out in a scientific spirit, was informed by a sorrowful, if resigned, appreciation of the reasons for its necessity:
So long as they were left to themselves and not in any way interfered with by outside influences, or their customs, food, etc., altered, they would continue to live, but when we came amongst them and admitted the air of the outside world, with consequent changes, to suit our necessities, not theirs, they lost their vitality, which was wholly dependent on being untouched, and the end of their race came." (57)
Portman, using paper negatives even at this late date, (58) was beset by difficulties which hindered the progress of the photography: an epidemic of measles which required sending all the Andamanese away from the settlement, lack of a steam launch to reach the outlying islands, and damp which destroyed sixty of his plates in January 1893, all slowed down the work. In the same year in addition he learnt for the first time of the need for the two inch grid and this involved rephotographing previously completed material in volumes 12 and 13. (59) One difficulty that Portman surprisingly did not have to contend with was the actual posing and photographing of his subjects, (60) and this presumably is a reflection of his position of authority over the islanders - a position which allowed him to exercise a benevolent paternalism over people whom he considered as tractable, if sometimes recalcitrant children, an attitude summed up in the impressions of one of his former charges, Luke:
He had lived for many years with a former Chief Commissioner named Portman, and had learnt the Christian theology, the English language, Hindustani and time sciences of photography and piloting. He told me he had not liked his time in the settlement - 'No fun, and always sickness', he said - yet Portman had made pets of the Andamanese, and given them bicycles and champagne, relieved by occasional beatings. (61)
Plate 34. Maurice Vidal Portman. Ilech, a young Andaman child, 1890s.
The full series of ethnographical studies was never completed. Portman himself retiring from his post in broken health in 1899 after twenty years devoted to the study and administration of this curious race, but his photographs remain the most comprehensive attempt made in India to produce a detailed scientific record, and are the culmination of the work of a succession of government servants and others who at one time or another made photographic records of the Andamanese, his two most prominent predecessors being Colonel R.C. Tytler (62) and E.H. Man (63) (plate 34).
In the final analysis, photographic efforts on ethnographic themes must be seen as something of a failure in strictly scientific terms, the specific controversies regarding the nature and origins of races having either become a dead letter or shifted to other areas. The quality of the photographs these investigations produced however is among the highest attained both in India and elsewhere during the nineteenth century. In 1901, forty years behind the Archaeological Survey and nearly thirty years after John Forbes Watson's recommendations, the formation of the Ethnological Survey of India was sanctioned. But by the turn of the century the hand-held camera and simplified processes had placed photography within the capabilities of all and, with few exceptions, the carefully composed, forceful studies of earlier years had been replaced by snapshots.
(1) Ernest Lacan. Esquisses photographiques à propos de l'Exhibition Universelle et de la guerre de l'orient (Paris, 1856). p 38.
(2) M. Guillain, Documents sur l''histoire, la géographie et la commerce de l'Afrique Orientale (3 vols. and vol. of plates, Paris, n.d. ).
(3) Everard im Thurn, Anthropological uses of the camera (Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, vol. XXII, 1893, pp. 184-203).
(4) Everard im Thurn, Anthropological uses of the camera (Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, vol. XXII, 1893, pp. 184).
(5) Journal of the Photographic Society of Bengal, 2.21, January 1857, pp. 33-38.
(6) McCosh's early interest in ethnological matters is also attested to by his compilation of material. Account of the mountain tribes in the extreme N.E. frontier of Bengal (Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, vol. 5, no. 52, April 1836, pp. 193-208).
(7) For an account of early commercial activity, see Ray Desmond, Photography in India in the nineteenth century (India Office Library and Records report for the year 1974, pp. 5-36), pp. 26-27.
(8) Catalogue of pictures in the exhibition of the Photographic Society of Bengal, 4th March 1857 (Calcutta, 1857), pp. 10-11.
(9) Journal of the Photographic Society of Bengal, no. 3, 20 May 1857, p. 68.
(10) A very fine album, entitled Frith's India series vol. I, containing views in Bombay, Poona, Goa and surrounding areas as well as ethnographical portraits, is in the Library of the Royal Commonwealth Society (ref. Y3022A). Whether further volumes were issued, and if so whether they contained work by William Johnson and William Henderson, has not been ascertained. Although Frith himself does not appear to have visited India, his purchase of other photographers' work has resulted in a certain amount of material being wrongly attributed to him. See for instance, the four woodburytypes reproduced in Frederick Drew, The Jummoo and Kashmir territories. A geographical account (London, 1875), in which acknowledgments are made 'to Mr. Frith for the permission to reproduce some of his beautiful photographs'.
(11) John P. Nicholas was in business from c. 1858 and in partnership with H.V. Curths from c. 1869-c. 73. The firm of Nicholas and Co. continued until around 1905, although Nicholas appears to have left Madras in about 1895 (Madras Asylum almanacs).
(12) Madras journal of literature and science,1858-59, p. 173.
(13) Samuel Bourne, Narrative of a photographic trip to Kashmir (Cashmere) and adjacent territories (British Journal of Photography, 25 January 1867), p. 39.
(14) R.G. Woodthorpe, The Lushai Expedition, 1871-1872 (London, 1873), pp. 250-252.
(15) Journal of the Bengal Photographic Society, vol. 3, no. 10, December 1864, p. 12.
(16) For a detailed history, see George W. Stocking, What's in a name? The Origins of the Royal Anthropological Institute (Man, new series vol. 6, no. 3, 1971, pp. 369-390).
(17) Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, August 1865, p. 148.
(18) L.F.A Maury, F. Pulszky and J.F. Meigs. Indigenous races of the earth (Philadelphia, 1857), pp. 607 . . . 611.
(19) Dumont D'Urville, Voyage au Pole Sud et dans l'Océanie sur les corvettes l'Astrolabe et la Zélée . . . pendant les annes 1837 . . . 1840 (23 vols., Paris, 1846-1864); vol. 23, Anthropologie, text by Emile Blanchard, preface.
(20) L.F.A Maury, F. Pulszky and J.F. Meigs. Indigenous races of the earth (Philadelphia, 1857), p. 609.
(21) Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal (new series, vol. 10, no. 110, 1841) pp. 175-182.
(22) Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal (new series, vol. 13, pt. 2, no. 155, 1844) pp. 919-932.
(23) Emil Schlagintweit. Notes in reference to the question of the aboriginal tribes of India (Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, August 1867, pp. 127-132). The Schlagintweits amassed a collection of 275 heads, 30 hands and 7 feet during their travels: the transportation of this material must have caused considerable logistical problems.
(24) Robert Hunt, Photography considered in relation to its educational and practical value (Photographic News, vol. 2, no. 47, 29 July 1859, pp. 242-244)
(25) Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, December 1867, p. 171.
(26) Captain H.H. Goodwin-Austen, Description of a mystic play, as performed in Ladakh, Zascar, etc. (Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, vol. 24, no. 2, 1865, pp. 71-79). Alexander Brodie Melville (d. 1871), Bengal Infantry, was employed on the Kashmir Survey between 1857 and 1863.
(27) The People of India, preface.
(28) It is probable that is was originally envisaged producing the work by lithography; the large number of illustrations and the limited size of the edition (200 copies) no doubt made the use of photographic prints cheaper than the manufacture of nearly 500 lithographic plates. For a full publishing history of the volumes, see Ray Desmond, The India Museum 1801-1879 (London, 1982), pp. 119-123.
(29) Colonel H.M. Vibart, Addiscombe, its heroes and men of note (London, 1894), p. 212. See also Desmond, Photography in India in the nineteenth century, pp. 12-14.
(30) Ernest Lacan. Esquisses photographiques à propos de l'Exhibition Universelle et de la guerre de l'orient (Paris, 1856). p 67. The only published work by Rousseau traced in the British Library is fou rnumbers of the part work Photographie Zoologique (1854); these photographs contain little of specifically ethnological interest.
(31) Government of India public proceedings, no. 71: office memo., Foreign Department, 20 April 1866, containing details of lists circulated in 1861.
(32) Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, April 1866, p. 90.
(33) Government of India public proceedings, no. 69: letter from J. Anderson, Natural History Secretary, Asiatic Society of Bengal, to E.C. Bayley, Secretary to Government of India, Home Department, 8 March 1866, p. 925.
(34) Government of India public proceedings, no. 69: Bayley to Joseph Fayrer, 29 November 1867..
(35) Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, April 1866, p. 90.
(36) Catalogue of pictures in the exhibition of the Photographic Society of Bengal, 4th March 1857 (Calcutta, 1857), p. 9. Simpson exhibited 26 prints, mainly views taken at Dum Dum.
(37) The illustrated catalogue of the Industrial Department, British Division (London, 1862). Vol. 2 contains a listing of the portraits of north Indian types exhibited by Simpson.
(38) Political missions to Bootan comprising the reports of the Hon'ble Ashley Eden - 1864 (Calcutta, 1865), p. 53.
(39) Government of India public proceedings, 15 August 1867 (tabular statement).
(40) George Tosco Peppé (1848-1893) arrived in India in 1866 and was employed in estate management in the tea and indigo business. He is buried at Ranchi. His uncle Thomas Fraser Peppé (1833-1902) was also a keen photographer and contributed to Dalton's work.
(41) Dr. Robert Brown (1833-1876) served in the Bengal Medical Service 1858-1876, and was Political Agent at Manipur in the late 1860s and 1870s.
(42) Journal of the Bengal Photographic Society (vol. 1, no. 2, 1 September 1862), p. 48.
(43) Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, August 1865, pp. 142-143.
(44) Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal (new series, vol. 13, pt. 2, no. 155, 1844), p. 928.
(45) John Forbes Watson, On the measures required for efficient working of the Indian Museum and Library, with suggestions for the foundation, in connection with them, of an Indian Institute of enquiry, lecture, and teaching (London, 1874), p. 26.
(46) John Forbes Watson, On the measures required for efficient working of the Indian Museum and Library, with suggestions for the foundation, in connection with them, of an Indian Institute of enquiry, lecture, and teaching (London, 1874), p. 10.
(47) The Journal of the Ethnological Society of London (new series, vol. 1, 1868-1869, pp. 84-85). It is unclear from Lamprey's brief article whether he was the originator of the checked grid, or whether he was here suggesting an improvement of an already accepted procedure. Lamprey remains an obscure figure and although he mentions an extensive portfolio of such studies, it is difficult to find work attributed to him. His attempts to make these studies more widely available contributed to the jailing of Henry Evans for the selling of indecent photographs and this may have dampened his enthusiasm for such work (see British Journal of Photography, 25 March 1870, p. 141).
(48) L.F.A Maury, F. Pulszky and J.F. Meigs. Indigenous races of the earth (Philadelphia, 1857), p. 609.
(49) Frederic John Mouat (1816-1897), Bengal Medical Service 1840-1870, was the first President of the Photographic Society of Bengal from 1856-1857.
(50) F.J. Mouat. Adventures and researches among the Andaman islanders (London, 1863), pp. 284-285.
(51) Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, August 1865, p. 144. In respect of ethnological requirements these were of course terms of the highest approbation.
(52) Report on the administration of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and the penal settlements of Port Blair and the Nicobars for 1897-98 (Calcutta, 1898), p. 165.
(53) Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, November 1865, p. 186.
(54) Report on the administration of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands . . . for 1892-93 (Calcutta, 1894), pp. 115-116.
(55) Report on the administration of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands . . . for 1892-93 (Calcutta, 1894), pp. 129.
(56) Portman was assisted in the measuring work by William Molesworth of the Indian Medical Service.
(57) M.V. Portman, A history of our relations with the Andamanese (2 vols, Calcutta, 1899), vol. 2, p. 875.
(58) These paper negatives still survive at the Museum of Mankind, London.
(59) Report of the administration of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands . . . for 1893-94, p. 116.
(60) Ray Desmond, Photography in India in the nineteenth century, pp. 12-13.
(61) Mrs Talbot Clifton, Pilgrims to the Isles of penance, Orchid gathering in the east (London, 1911), pp. 149-150. This lack of interest in outsiders was also a characteristic noted by George Edward Dobson (1844-1895) who, when preparing his dark tent in order to photograph the Andamanese in the 1870s, noted that 'although this is a very remarkable object when erected, the natives scarcely took the trouble to look at it, and none expressed any surprise.' (G.E. Dobson, "On the Andamans and the Andamanese", Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, vol. 4, 1875, pp. 457-467).
(62) Robert Christopher Tytler (1818-1872) was Superintendent at Port Blair 1862-1864. He had been taught photography in 1858 by Beato and Joohn Murray and with his wife took over 500 calotypes of scenes connected with the Mutiny (Ray Desmond, Photography in India in the nineteenth century, In: India Office Library and Records report for the year 1974, pp. 5-36, p. 14.). For a detailed biographical note on Tytler, see G.W. De Rhé-Philipe, Inscriptions on Christian tombs in the Punjab, the North-West Frontier Province, Kashmir and Afghanistan (Lahore, 1912), part 2, pp. 355-356.
(63) Edward Horace Man (1846-1929), the son of Henry Man who had re-occupied the Andamans for the Indian Government in 1858, served in the Andamans and Nicobars from 1869 until his retirement as Deputy Superintendent in 1901. His published works, On the aboriginal inhabitants of the Andaman Islands (London, 1885, reprinted 1932) and The Nicobar Islands the their people (London, 1932) contain many of his own photographs. It is likely that these prints, with their carefully posed illustrations of racial types and activities, served as an inspiration for Portman's own documentation.
Last changed 30 March 2006