Small folio album (ca. 30x25 cm). 33 card stock leaves. With 121 mounted albumen photographs, including over eighty large photos from ca. 21x26,5 cm (8 ¼ x 10 ½ in) to ca. 10x13,5 cm (4 x 5 ¼ in) and over thirty small photos from ca. 7x11 cm (2 ¾ x 4 ¼ in) to ca. 6x6,5 cm (2 ¼ x 2 ½ in). Over seventy photos with period pencil or ink captions on the mounts; nineteen photos captioned in negative. Period brown full morocco album with decorative gilt-tooled borders on the spine and both boards; moire endpapers; all edges gilt. Binding slightly rubbed on extremities, several leaves with worm holes, ca. 18 photos with damage to parts of images, a few photos mildly faded or with mild silvering, some worming leaves at gutter, not affecting photos but overall a very good album of interesting early photos.
Attractive album of rare early well-executed photos of West Bengal (then the Bengal Presidency of British India) and lively portraits of the locals, taken and collected by a British resident of Burdwan (Bardhaman) in the 1870s. Over thirty images show the sites and architecture of Kolkata/Calcutta (St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Fort William, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Ochterlony Monument/Shaheed Minar, Government House/Raj Bhavan with the monument to Lord Bentinck on the right, waterfront, General Post Office, the equestrian statue of Sir James Outram), Burdwan/Bardhaman (railway station with a cargo train on the right (the steam engine’s number is 476), Damodar River, four views of “our house in Burdwan”), Hooghly/Hugli-Chuchura (a road to the railway station, “a mosque and tank on the Hooghly road”), Hoogly River with native boats, “a ruined temple at Chandernagore [Chandannagar], 3 miles from Hooghly,” countryside roads with bullock carts, an elaborately decorated Hindu chariot, apparently photographed during the Ratha Yatra festival (the photo is captioned “Rath”), interior of a drawing room in a British residence in India &c.
About forty photos portray the people of West Bengal – sellers of various goods (toddy or palm wine, curd, poultry, crockery, parched rice), street peddlers, carpenters, snake charmers, bullock cart drivers, palanquin carriers, coolies, basket makers, a female mill grinder, a knife grinder, a cotton cleaner, a butcher, playing children, musicians, women, and others. There are also three portraits of a British man, most likely the album’s compiler, posing with his wife and baby or mounted on an elephant. Ca. 48 photos show cities, sites and countryside estates in England (Cromer, Ilfracombe, Norwich Cathedral and castle, Stonehenge, Hastings Castle, &c.) and France (Paris, Versailles), Egypt (ancient temples, Nile cataracts), Aden and the Suez Canal. Overall an interesting extensive collection of early photos of people, cities and sites of the Bengal Presidency of British India.
A list of manuscript captions: Church in Fort Wm.; Aden; Notre-Dame; Suez; Palais de Versailles; Nouvel Opera; Madelaine; Vue générale de Paris; Suez; Champs Elysées; Place de la Concord; Railway station, Burdwan; St. Paul’s Cathedral [Kolkata]; Cromer; Toddy seller; Aden; Native boat; Bullock carts going down the road; Ilfracombe (2 different views); Government House (west); Our house Burdwan; The […?]; The Drive Stand, Calcutta; Government House; Post Office, Calcutta; Our house Burdwan; River banks Burdwan; Norwich Cathedral; Versailles; Curd seller; Mill grinder; Norwich Cathedral; Wood […?]; Pulkee; Poultrer; Vendor of crockery; Carpenter; Drawing room; Jungle; Snake charmer; Box wallah; Boys playing at Pachisi; Native boat; Knife grinder; Native boat; Basket makers; Rath; Covered bullock cart; Our road to the railway station, Hooghly; A mosque & tank on the Hooghly road; Mill grinder; Mucisians; Cotton cleaner; […?] wallah; Mucisians; Bhishee; Box wallah; Toddy seller; Carpenter; Norwich castle; Moodie shop; A ruined temple at Chandernagore, 3 miles from Hooghly; On the banks of the Hooghly; Native woman; Butcher; Parched rice seller; Masalchi; Hastings castle; Coolies; Our house Burdwan.