ANON. [ALBUM] A Photograph Album of A English Family Working in The Tea Industry
Oblong 4to. 46pp. 146 black and white photographs, captioned in white chinagraph, varying in size between 2.5 x 3.5 inches and 6 x 3.5. Black card album, tie bound, a little worn and frayed to the extremities, but solid and with all the images in good condition. Subject matter varies widely between street and river scenes in Calcutta and Colombo, domestic scenes featuring our group of immaculately pukka Europeans (playing Polo, drinking at the “Chummery”, playing tennis, mingling on verandahs and generally doing all the things we expect Europeans in India and Ceylon to be doing; wearing sun helmets and overseeing other people working), scenes of women working on tea plantations, a number of river scenes involving shipping, an elephant ride, a significant amount of images of the colonial architecture of Calcutta, Colombo, Karachi and the Peshawar district, an obviously cherished motor car and some quite detailed images of the Dibru-Darrang tea plantation in Assam at a time when the Assam tea gardens were doing their best to rectify tea’s fluctuating pricing structure by reducing output and attempting to modernise ther processes. It’s one possibility that this little group of Europeans, judging from their rather roving brief, may have somehow been involved in that streamlining and modernisation effort. The stark contrast between the European motor cars and linens suits, and the street merchants of Peshawar (amongst other locations) is always rather jarring to behold; twentieth century Europe gatecrashing a society that, on its more rural levels at least, had been following the same customs, modes of employment and dress for hundreds of years.