A Fine Album of Images recording Travels and Hunting in India
INDIA - 'India Nov 1911 till Oct. 1912' (titled thus on verso of front free endpaper). An album of photographs compiled by Charlotte Kelly. [No place,. c. 1912].
Oblong 4to. Original full embossed Indian crocodile leather, bevelled edges, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt; 248 photographic prints, 60 x 105 or 90 x 115mm, the photographs window-mounted in groups of four recto-and-verso on 31 leaves, each with applied white border, most captioned in white beneath, some leaves also dated either 1911 or 1912 in the centre; a further six photographic prints hinge-mounted onto the verso of the rear free endpaper, the smallest 40 x 60mm and the largest 65 x 105mm; boards slightly bowed, extremities slightly rubbed and chipped, slight cracking on hinges, some images a little faded, occasional slight creasing, but otherwise very good; provenance: Charlotte Kelly (1877-1963, compiler), and by descent.
A remarkable photographic record of a tour through India from November 1911 to October 1912, undertaken by Captain Julian Kelly, an officer in the British Army, and his wife Charlotte. The majority of the photographs appear to be by Charlotte Kelly, who was evidently an enthusiastic and talented amateur photographer, and are distinguished by their composition and variety of subjects; they include not only the more obvious, well-known views that one might expect - such as the Taj Mahal and the Golden Temple, Amritsar - but also depictions of wildlife and sport, and typical Indian scenes and types, including 'Drawing Water' and 'Temple Attendant', and conclude with a record of an expedition to the mountains of north-east Kashmir.
The Kellys appear to have journeyed to India via the Suez Canal (a group of four images of the Suez Canal and Aden are dated 19-23 November 1911), and then travelled widely through central and northern India, to Rajasthan in the west, Uttar Pradesh in the east and the Punjab in the north. The monuments depicted include the Taj Mahal and other buildings in Agra; architecture in Lahore; the Golden Temple, Amritsar; Curzon House and the Mutiny Memorial, Delhi; 'The Residency, Lucknow'; 'Caunpoor Memorial Well'; 'One of the Maharana's Gardens Udaipur'; and the Galta Temple. More scenic views show Udaipur, the Khyber Pass Road, and a camel caravan on the Khyber Pass Road.
Scenes of Indian life and characters include 'Bathing in the Sacred Ganges Benares', 'Bathing in Sacred Ganges', 'Camels Loading for Kabul', and 'Elephants near Delhi', and 'Temple Attendant', 'Drawing Water', '1st Lancer Trumpeter', 'Carrying Water', 'Pounding Corn', 'Watering the Fields', and 'Our Boatman and Family'. Similarly, aspects of Anglo-Indian life are also represented; the Kellys arrived in India at around the same time as King George V and Queen Mary, who had left Britain on 11 November 1911 for the great Durbar, held in Delhi on 12 December 1912, 'the most spectacular ceremony in the history of the British empire. The king-emperor declared Delhi the new capital and laid its foundation-stone' (ODNB). A sequence of ten photographs illustrate the Durbar Pavillion, the King and Queen, and the attendant ceremonies.
The second half of the album depicts a climbing and sporting expedition to Kashmir, which saw the Kellys travel north to Srinigar with companions and the Dal Lake. En route, 'Pig Sticking', 'Crocodile Shooting', 'Spearing Fish', and 'Native Polo' are recorded, as well as 'A Yak'; other images show 'A Kashmeri', a motor car crossing a bridge in Kashmir, and a 'Tonga on Kashmere Road', and views of Srinigar, Dal Lake (Srinigar), and 'A Floating Garden. Dall Lake'. From Srinigar they travelled with ponies to Manasbal Lake in the Jhelum Valley, where they camped, before progressing to Gurais, where they encamped again. The party then ascended the 'Konipatri Pass' (13,500 feet), which is illustrated by a number of photographs, followed by views of Vishensar and Sonamarg, and hunting scenes of 'My First Bear', 'My Second Bear', 'The Beaters', and 'Miss Simmonds Brown Bear'.