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British military photograph album with views of Sri Lanka, Egypt, India, and Istanbul, 1894-1901

Summary

Album contains 51 albumen silver prints taken in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka); Bellary, India; Constantinople (Istanbul), and Egypt. A few images are from Nice, France, and Monte Carlo. The album bears no owner's name, but likely belonged to an individual in the British Army. On the first leaf is pasted a large coat of arms with a motto from the Isle of Man. The Sri Lanka images date from 1894-1895 and include: images from Colombo of military barracks, the hotel Mount Lavinia, Galle Face, the British Governor's palace; monsoon waves on a breakwater, polo grounds, and a racetrack; views of Kandy of the town, streets, and lake; images from Trincomalee from an Officers Mess; and race scenes from Nuwara Eliya and Colombo. Views from Egypt show the Great Sphinx, streets in Cairo, and palaces in Alexandria. Images from Constantinople include street scenes, mosques, the port, and the arsenal, while those from India include servants with racehorses, and British men and servants at private residences. There are also military images of the hospital ship "Spartan"; portraits of the B and C Companies, 4th Royal Warwickshire Regiment, Dublin, 1902, and the 1st Royal Warwicks in Bellary, India, 1899; a "Camp Marachah," possibly in Afghanistan; and images of military buildings in Sri Lanka. Many of the Sri Lanka images are credited to William H.L. Skeen, a commercial photographer based in Colombo and Kandy; several prints bear his studio's imprint, while others are unattributed but are probaby his. The Middle East views in this album were also produced by commercial photographers, including the Zangaki brothers (one print), Schroeder & Cie (three prints) and Sebah & Joaillier (five prints). Many of the commercial prins are captioned. Prints range in size from 8 3/4 x 11 to 5 3/4 x 8 inches; most are full-page sizes.

Collection Details

Collection Number
RL.11764
Title
British military photograph album with views of Sri Lanka, Egypt, India, and Istanbul
Date
1894-1901
Extent
0.25 Linear Feet, 1 box
Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Language
Materials in English

Collection Overview

Content Description

Bound photograph album contains 51 albumen silver prints dating from 1894-1901, taken in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), Bellary, India, Constantinople (Istanbul), and Egypt. A few images are from Nice, France, and Monte Carlo. The album bears no owner's name, but likely belonged to an individual in the British Army. Many of the photographs are captioned. Prints range in size from 8 3/4 x 11 to 5 3/4 x 8 inches; most are full-page sizes.

Ceylon images predominate, many of them attributed by William Henry Louis Skeen, well-known studio photographer based in Ceylon; several prints bear his studio's imprint, while others are unattributed but are probaby his. Images date from 1894-1895 and include: Galle Face (Avenue), Colombo; infantry barracks shown from the front and back, with lake, hospital, polo ground and club house; Mount Lavinia Hotel, with infantry barrack room and officers quarters, 1895; Colombo breakwater during monsoon; panorama of Kandy, Ceylon; Trincomalee from Officers Mess, 1895; Kandy with lake view and Trincomalee street; India rubber trees, Peredinaya Gardens, Kandy; Main Street, Pettah; "A.S.T." in Ceylon, 1894; polo group, Ceylon 1894; Stewards Stand, Colombo Races, 1894; and Nuwara Eliya Races, 1894, Comewell wins!"

Views of Egypt are from 1898 and include the Great Sphinx; Gizeh, palace of Prince Hussein Kamil Pacha; Alexandria, Palace Mehemed Ali; Alexandria, palace Ras-el-tin; photograph of a print titled, "Birds Eye View of the Battle of El-Teb"; "Old Cairo"; and a city street in Cairo. Views from Constantinople include the interior of Mosque Sainte Sophie; a street scene; panoramic view of the city and old port; view of the Golden Horn and arsenal; Mosque Hamidiye and Yildiz palace; and an Ottoman porter (studio shot).

The Middle Eastern views are all prints by commercial photographers: the Zangaki brothers (one print), Schroeder & (three prints) and Sebah & Joaillier (five prints). Many of the commercial prints are captioned in the negatives.

Among the India images are: 1st Royal Warwicks, Bellary India, 1899; two more images of Bellary; Indian servants with race horses; and Indian servants and staff outside private residence with two English men in suits. There are six total residential images, undated and without captions.

There are several commercial views from Europe: Nice, France: Cascade du chateau and an image from the Promenade des Anglais, 1901; and a Monte Carlo theater, 1901.

Military images include: the hospital ship "Spartan," 1900; C. Company 4th Royal Warwickshire Reg.t Dublin, 1902; B. Company 4th Royal Warwickshire Reg.t Dublin, 1902; and a loosely inserted image captioned "Officers War. R. Peshawar" with names of officers recorded in pencil on verso. The final image is labeled "Camp Marachah," possibly in Afghanistan. Two smaller glossy copies of an image of men with horses in a desert landscape are laid in the closing pages.

On the first album leaf is pasted a coat of arms with the original Latin motto crossed out, and a different one written below in period ink, "Quocunque jeceris stabit", meaning "Whichever way you throw, it will stand," the motto for the coat of arms of the Isle of Man.

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Collection is open for research.

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More copyright and citation information

How to Cite

Preferred citation: [British military photograph album, with views of Sri Lanka, Egypt, India, and Istanbul, 1894-1901], David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

Photograph album, 1894-1901
Box 1
 

Historical Note

The photographs in this album were taken at a time in the late 19th century when the British Empire had established colonial outposts in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), closely tied to British-owned coffee, rubber, and tea plantations and other export industries.


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Provenance

The British military photograph album with views of Sri Lanka, Egypt, India, and Istanbul was received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a purchase in 2019.

Processing Information

Processed and described by Paula Jeannet, August 2019.

Accession(s) represented in this collection guide: 2019-0095.