Album: ca. 1901-1902. Oblong Folio album (ca. 20,5x28,5 cm). 12 card stock album leaves with tissue guards (4 blank). With 61 mounted gelatin silver photographs ca. 6x10,5 cm (2 ¼ x 4 in) or slightly smaller. All photos with period manuscript ink captions in German on the mounts. Period dark brown full sheep album, neatly rebacked retaining the original spine. Front board with a gilt-tooled armorial exlibris of Pauline von Montgelas (letters “P.M.” and a countess crown); decorative endpapers. Binding rubbed on extremities, a couple of images mildly faded, but overall a very good album of interesting photos.
Photos: ca. 1900-1903. Eleven large loose gelatin silver photos from ca. 21x27 cm (8 x 10 ½ in) to ca. 13x21 cm (5 x 8 ¼ in), mounted on card from ca. 35,5x43 cm (14x17 in) to ca. 24x35,5 cm (9 ½ x 14 cm). Two photos mounted on the card with a gilt-lettered stamp of “Y. Suitsu, Peking;” two photos mounted on the card with a typographic stamp of “S. Yamamoto, Photographer, Peking;” one photo with an ink stamp “S. Yamamoto, Peking” on verso; one photo mounted on the card of a Parisian photographer. All photos with period pencil or ink captions (and sometimes dates) on recto or verso. Two mounts with minor creases not affecting the images, several images slightly faded, one mount with a mild water stain on verso, but overall very good photos.
With: Montgelas, P. Ostasiatische Skizzen mit einer Ansicht des Himmels-Tempels zu Peking. München: Theodor Ackermann, 1905. 12mo. , 103 pp. With a phototype frontispiece. Period ink presentation inscription on verso of the frontispiece leaf: “Meinem Schwager Albert als Zeichen der Liebe und des Wohlwollens welches ich für Ihn hege von Seiner Schwägerin Güggi Osenbrüggen. München, den 30 Mai 1907.” Original publisher’s cloth, slightly rubbed on extremities, otherwise a very good copy.
Historically significant collection of unique photos and large studio group portraits, taken during the invasion of northern China by the troops of the Eight-Nation Alliance - the international military force which aimed to suppress the Boxer rebellion (1899-1901). The collection was compiled by countess Pauline von Montgelas, wife of count Maximilian von Mongelas (1860-1938), who took part in the suppression of the rebellion (commanded the 2nd Battalion of the German 4th East Asian Infantry Regiment) and served as German military attache in Beijing in 1900-1903. In the 1910s, von Montgelas served in the German General Staff but had to retire in 1915 due to his criticism of German aggression in the initial phase of WW1. By the end of the war, he became a pacifist and moved to Switzerland. In 1919 he was a member of the German delegation at the Paris Peace Conference. In the 1920s, von Montgelas authored several books and articles on Germany’s “war guilt” question.
Pauline von Montgelas became known for her travelogues “Ostasiatische Skizzen” (München, 1905) and “Bilder aus Südasien” (München, 1906), based on her travels across China, Mongolia, Japan and South-East Asia. Later she became a prominent member of the Catholic church, charity figure and activist for rights of women and domestic workers in Germany, being involved in the German Catholic Women’s Association, the Union of German Homeworkers, the Catholic Workers’ Union, &c. In the 1930s, she was also known as an avid criticizer of Nazi politics.
The photos in our collection cover ca. 1900-1903, when countess von Mongelas lived in Beijing as the wife of the German military attache. The earliest photo (a large view of the damaged French Catholic church in Tianjin) apparently relates to her arrival in China in 1900 with the international military force. Interesting photos in the album show the German embassy and “Sekretärshäuser,” the grave of German plenipotentiary in Beijing Clemens von Kettler (1853-1900), who was killed during the Boxer rebellion, and a group portrait of “Prinz Ching” (Yikuang, 1938-1917, a prominent politician of the Qing dynasty) and his retinue at the German embassy. Several photos show the destruction of Bejing after the suppression of the rebellion, including the Austro-Hungarian embassy after the “Belagerung” (“siege”) and views of the breaches and damage in the Inner City’s walls and gates. An interesting photo shows German marines bringing a Chines rock statue of a lion to the German embassy. At least three images depict the “mourning parade” in the Forbidden City after the death of Queen Victoria in January 1901. There are also photos of various palaces and buildings in the Forbidden City, Summer and Winter Palaces, the Observatory, lively street views with the locals, etc. Several photos at rear depict the German embassy’s entertainment trip to the Ming dynasty tombs near Beijing.
The large photos are mostly group portraits of German, American, European and Japanese military men and civil officials, taken in Beijing during its occupation by the Eight-Nation Alliance. Among the identified persons are Pauline von Montgelas’ husband count Maximilian von Mongelas (“Max”), the head of the Austro-Hungarian “protection force” in Beijing Alois Schusterschitz (1867-1948), Major Collinet of the French Legation, the head of the Russian “protection force” Colonel Dubelt, Russian General Alexander Vereshchagin (1850-1909), Commander of the British Legation Guard Sir Hamilton Bower (1858-1940), the head of the American “protection force” Major Robertson, first secretary of the German Legation Baron von der Goltz, British attache in Beijing Sir Walter Townley (1863-1945) and his wife Lady Susan Townley, Mrs. Brewster (the wife of an American Protestant missionary to China William Nesbitt Brewster), and others. Two group portraits of military commanders of the Eight-Nation alliance were taken by a Japanese photographer (possibly, Sanshichiro Yamamoto) after the dinner in the Russian headquarters in Beijing in 1902. The dinner and the photo session are mentioned in the memoirs of Russian military commander Alexander Vereshchagin, who was present at the dinner and is featured on one of the photos (see more: Inostrannye Otryady// Vereshchagin, A.V. V Kitaye. SPb., 1903. https://ru.wikisource.org/wiki/%D0%92_%D0%9A%D0%B8%D1%82%D0%B0%D0%B5_(%D0%92%D0%B5%D1%80%D0%B5%D1%89%D0%B0%D0%B3%D0%B8%D0%BD)). Vereshchagin also describes several military commanders who present in the portraits, including von Mongelas, Bower, Robertson, and Collinet. Overall a unique historically significant collection of original photos illustrating the life in the European legations during the occupation of Beijing by the Eight-Nation Alliance in 1900-1903.
A list of large photos:
1) [A group portrait of international military men, captioned:] Schutzwache, Peking. [A detailed caption on verso:] 1. Russ. 2. Jap. Colonel Yamamoto. 3. Franz. Commandant Collinet. 4. Russ. Oberst Dybelt; 6. Russ. Gen.Mj. Wereschtschagin; 6 -. 7. Amerik. Major Robertson; 8. Öst.-ung. <…> Schusterschitz; <…> 10. Ital. <…> Paroldo; <…> 13. Engl. Oberst H. Bower <…>;
2) [A group portrait of international military men, captioned:] Schutzwache, Peking;
3) [A group portrait of the members of the German legation in Beijing, captioned:] Gesandtschaft. V. Borcht, Max, Goltz, Dolmetscher, Krebs, Bohler, Roscher, <…>;
4) [A scene with German soldiers carrying captured Chinese flags, captioned:] Deutsche Soldaten mit chin. Fahnen;
5) [A group portrait, captioned:] General Cunning. Sikhs;
6) [A view of Our Lady of Victory French Catholic church (Wanghailou church) and Haihe River in Tianjin, captioned:] Tientsin.
7) [A group portrait of European officials and their wives, on the studio card of S. Yamamoto; Ink caption:] Peking. Max, Fr. Krumacher, Goltz, Pauline mit Nikko;
8) [A group portrait of European officials and their wives, on the studio card of S. Yamamoto; Ink caption and signatures:] Walter Townley, Susan Townley, G. Jardine Kidston, Me. Casenare, Max, Loudon, Casenare, Pauline, Ital. Komandant, W.J. Oudendijk;
9) [A group portrait of European officials and their wives, with the ink stamp of S. Yamamoto on verso; Ink caption:] Vor der Audienz im Kaiserpalast 1902. Mrs. Brewster? U.S.A., ?, Me. Casenare, Pauline, ?, ?, Tino[?] Casenare, Mary Brewster, Beronice R. (Italie), Mrs. Couper U.S.A., Me. Carcer, Kinder Carcer;
10) [A group portrait of European officials and their wives; Ink caption:] Mr. Casenare, Lieut. Campbell, Me. Casenare, Herr von Groot, Mr. W. Townley, Mr. Russel, Lady Susan Townley, Pce. Mirski;
11) [A studio portrait on the card of a Parisian photographer, signed:] Elisabeth Casenare, Peking, 1903.