BEATO, Felice (1832 - 1909). Delhi & Amritsur. Prints printed in London ca. 1860.
Founding album of photojournalism, from Colonel Charles Burrard Reboul.
This copy gathers two series of photographs taken by Felice Beato in India. A first series depicts Delhi in 1858, the year the city falls under British control following the Cipay revolt. The photographer documents the scene of the fighting as a tree under which 200 Europeans were massacred during the revolts (D31) and the Sammy House (D6) with the bones of the victims in the foreground. Delhi, one of the liveliest cities on the Asian continent is depicted here in ruins, bleeding. Beside these photos bearing witness to the war, Beato takes care to photograph the monuments of the city and gives this series a touristic aspect. He asks Indians to pose next to the buildings to give them scale or to create some kind of genre scenes. The Jama Masjid Mosque (D33), the Qutb Minar (D47) and Humayun's Tomb (D41) are thus included in this series. The second set of photographs devoted to Amritsar has the same intention. The Sikh city was not the scene of any major revolts and Beato offers here simply tourist pictures, without any political connotation. In these two series, the panoramas give an account of the majesty of the monuments at a time when tourist activity is growing in India.
Major Charles Burrard Reboul, for whom this set of prints was created, is a French soldier who began his career in the cuirassiers regiment after passing through the school of Saint-Cyr. No document attests that Reboul attended the Cipayes revolt in 1857, but his already very good English during the conflict in China a few years later indicates that he probably had a first experience with the British forces. Hope Grant, Lieutenant-General, remembers him in his diary during the Second Opium War (1860) as "a very agreeable gentlemanlike officer, and spoke English like an Englishman. Frenchman Armand Lucy, who worked as an English interpreter during the same campaign, described him in these terms: "The excellent Commander Reboul, of the Empress' hunters, our commissioner at English headquarters, is on horseback all day long to bring the slightest information". During the expedition to China, Reboul acquired several precious objects of Asian art that testify to his taste for extra-western arts. He ended his career as a colonel in the 9th dragon regiment.
This set of photographs taken in 1858 was offered for sale from 1860 onwards by Henry Hering, after the war in China, where Charles Burrard Reboul's links with the British forces are attested. The English military title of "major" used on the superlibris suggests that this album was given to Charles Burrard Reboul by a British soldier - Reboul would probably have been more inclined to use the French military rank of "commandant". Since Lieutenant General Hope Grant himself was portrayed twice by Felice Beato in 1858 in India and in 1860 in China, he may have been the sponsor of the album and offered it to his major. Reboul took part in important war councils alongside Grant, and their collaboration seems to have been regular during the Second Opium War. BRIZAY, Bernard, Le Sac du Palais d'Été: Seconde guerre de l'opium, L'expédition anglo-française en Chine en 1860. Monaco: Rocher, 2011. GRANT, Hope. Incidents in the China war of 1860. Toledo: Elibron Classics, 2002. LUCY, Armand. Intimate Letters on the China campaign of 1860. Marseille: Jules Barile, 1861.
Oblong folio (375 x 450 mm). Album containing 66 albumen prints of about 25 cm x 30 cm per photograph and 7 panoramas, all numbered in savings (on the negatives), with the English caption of the publisher and a French translation written in black ink, containing 49 photographs of Delhi (numbered D1 to D58) and 17 photographs of Amritsar (U1 to U16). The 7 panoramas are the following: D - Panorama of Delhi view taken from the Jamna Musjid (23.8 x 246.2 cm) D - Panorama of Delhi view taken from the Hindo Rao house (24.8 x 91 cm) U20 - U21 - Main Breach and Gate of the Kashmir Bastion (25 x 60,5 cm) U24 - U25 - Morec Bastion (25.2 x 62 cm) U34 - U35 - Jumna Masjid (29.5 x 51 cm) U45 - U46 - The Kootub (25.5 x 590 cm) U - Panorama of the city of Amritsur seen from the sacred reservoir and the Sikh temple (24 x 88,2 cm) Ebony half-marquin with corners with a title piece in the center of the first plate and superlibris, gilded edges (hinges partially split, a few lacks on the back, rubbed caps and corners, scratches on the plates, a few freckles, a few photos partially detached, the upper right corner of the U9 print is torn, minimal tear in the D33 print). Provenance : Charles Burrard Reboul (1825 - 1886) (super libris)
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