British India’s travel archives at Sotheby’s online auction

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New Delhi, June 27 (IANS) Archived books and manuscripts revealing a rarely-seen history of India are on sale in the ‘Fine Books And Manuscripts Including Americana’ online auction hosted by International art auctioneer Sothebys from June 18 to 28.

Sketchbooks, photography books, manuscript accounts, watercolour paintings, panoramas, etchings, aquatints, maps and diaries are some of the archives on auction. Most of them chronicle the hunting and traveling expeditions of British army officers and civil servants.

The locations range from Kolkata and Darbhanga to Kashmir, even Burma and beyond.

A series of original watercolours painted by Colonel George Noble Cave, who was an officer with the Bengal Staff Corps from 1849, is up for grabs.

He has painted various scenes in the Kashmir region, including the ‘First View of the Valley of Cashmere’, ‘The Falls of Hurreebul’, ‘On the Sind River’, ‘On the Zejla Pass’, and many others. The watercolours are estimated to be auctioned for between Rs 10-14 lakh.

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Horatio Ross’s four years spent in India as a civil servant, led him to create a sketchbook in the jungles of Mirzapur, where many of his hunting adventures took place between 1858-1861.

He was based at Chunar Fort, located on the Ganges, and in the Mirzapur district of Uttar Pradesh. Ross records a some official duties, but also illustrates scenes of domestic life.

The sketchbook is estimated to be priced between Rs 4-5.5 lakh.

Twelve original photographs of “Big Game Hunting and Wildfowling in India” (1850-1880) were captured by Willoughby Wallace Hooper, who was stationed in Indian cavalry since 1858. Their prices are estimated between Rs 1.7-2.3 lakh.

They include images of camp scenes, military battalions, and snipe shooting etc.

Hooper, according to Sotheby’s, also gained a reputation for “photographing people of different ethnic origins, hunting scenes, Anglo-Indian life, and victims of the Madras Famine (1876-78)”.

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The online auction has numerous other archives, all viewable online at their website www.sothebys.com. It closes on June 28.

–IANS

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