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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Alexander Edwin Caddy

Dates:  1846, 14 April - 1904, 29 February
Born:  India, Neemuch
Died:  India, Calcutta

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John Falconer, British Library 
A Biographical Dictionary of 19th Century Photographers in South and South-East Asia

Amateur, India
Son of Captain Douglas Truscott Caddy (70th Native Infantry) and Anver Beguma (‘Native Woman’); baptised at Neemuch, 3 Jan 1847.[1] Married Sarah Isabella Hoggan at Fort William, 16 Mar 1867. [2]
Storekeeper, Office and Store Department, Survey of India, 187?-81; re-appointed ‘in order to meet the demands for special work for the Exhibition and otherwise’ as photographer and special assistant from 9 August 1882, ‘but he did his work so inefficiently that I had to dispense with his services early in October.’[3] In the 1890s Caddy was teacher of drawing in the Civil Engineering College, Sibpur, Calcutta. Profession listed as ‘Artist’ at death;[4] buried in General Episcopalian Cemetery, Circular Road and Park Street (Lower Circular Road Cemetery?).
Directory References:
1883 A. E. Caddy, Burdwan
1890 A. E. Caddy, 171 Grand Trunk Road, Howrah. No trade given.
1891 Not listed
1892 Not listed
1893-96 A. Caddy, Artist, Darjeeling
1897 Not seen
1898 Not listed
Views in Oudh, Rohulkund, Lucknow (La Martinière), portraits and photographs of sculpture shown at the Bengal Photographic Society Exhibition of 1872.[5]
Photographed architectural sites for the Archaeological Survey of India in 1890s:
‘Early in May 1894, the Trustees of the [Indian] Museum drew attention of this Government of the historical and philological importance of the Asoka inscriptions scattered over India, and to the fact that no permanent memorial existed of them, while the originals are exposed to decay and injury.’ Therefore, the Lieutenant-Governor deputed Caddy, ‘with effect from 15th October 1894, to take plaster casts of the inscriptions at all the sites which lie in this Province, viz., the Radhia and Mathia pillars in Champaran, Sahasaram (or Sassaram) in Shahabad, Barabar and Nagargunj in Gaya, Dhauli and Khandargiri in Cuttack, and, with the assistance of the Madras Government, Jogodo in the Ganjam District. Subsequently, Mr Caddy was further instructed to take moulds or casts of the hitherto undeciphered ‘shell inscriptions’ in the Rajgir Valley in Gaya. Besides taking casts, Mr Caddy was desired to take photographs of the pillars, rocks, and caves on and in which the inscriptions are carved...It was originally expected that the work would be completed in two months, but in consequence of the distances, of the inaccessibility of some of the sites, and of the actual difficulty and amount of the work to be done, the undertaking proved much more laborious than was anticipated, and Mr Caddy’s health suffered from exposure. After finishing the work of taking moulds in situ, Mr Caddy returned to Calcutta on the 4th June 1895, and is now engaged in preparing the countermoulds, i.e., the fac-simile reproductions from the moulds, a complete set of which will be presented to the Indian Museum.’[6]
Synopsis: Report from Camp Lauriya Navandgarh, 4 December 1894. Describes the taking of moulds of the inscriptions at Lauriya Navandgarh and Bettiah. On 17 December reports the completion of work on the northern column. Writing from Gaya on 15 January 1895 reports that he started for Bankipur on 26 December 1894; arrived at Sasaram 31 December and in the afternoon travelled to the Asoka inscription just outside the town. Notes that the spot had been visited by Cunningham ‘with Mr Beglar to copy the inscription; the latter having removed a portion of the masonry (since replaced) to take a photograph of the letters.’ ‘The day following my inspection of the cave, I went up the hill again and met my modellers there. A one-piece mould was taken, and I tried to photograph the inscription. I am not quite sure if I have a good picture of it. Owing to my having to get quite near the stone, I took it in two sections. I could not get a view of the cave, as the scarp of the rock was too near it...I have taken one or two photographs showing the aspect of the hill and the site of the cave from the plain below’ Travelled from there to Patel Gunga, arriving on 10 January, and going up to the caves in the Barabar Hills the same day. At the Gopi Cave, ‘I am sorry to say I did not obtain a photograph of any size of this very picturesque spot. I had to send my apparatus back disabled by the clumsy handling of the coolies.’ Writing from Calcutta on 14 February 1895, he describes travelling to Rajgir to visit the caves and record the ‘shell inscriptions’, which was done in the last part of January. Next report from Jogodo, dated 21 March, describes journey and arrival on 8 March. Refers to Minchin’s photographs: ‘General Cunningham says he has not seen Mr Minchin’s photographs of the Jogodo inscriptions. I am sorry to say thisgentleman could not find one to show me. He photographed them in 1858 or 1859, and at the earnest request of the Madras Government, he took them with him to England and left them at the India Office with Dr Rost - the negatives as well as some few prints. Since then no further knowledge of the plates exists here. But if some effort were made to trace their subsequent history, a very interesting record might be recovered. Mr Minchin did much to bring these tablets to the notice of Government, and their present conservation is no doubt due to his inception.’ this presumably refers to prints 213-15 in the India Office series, although it is specifically stated in the printed list that these were taken in 1872. Work at Jogodo was finished on 24 March 1895. From Khandgiri, Caddy’s next report, dated 3 May 1895, describes journey via Chilka Lake. At Khandgiri, ‘I have tried to make a complete series of photographs of the more important caves in these hills, and have been mindful of the fact that, when Mr Locke of the School of Art visited Orissa, a series of casts and photographs were made, the casts now being an important feature of the Asoka Gallery...’ The work was somewhat delayed by Caddy’s illness, but at the end of April, ‘As soon as I saw that the moulding of the inscriptionwould soon be complete, I took a rajmistree with me and came on to Dhauli, camping a night at Bhuvaneshwar, where I took some few photographs.’ Next report is dated Cuttack, 30 May 1895 and describes making of moulds at Dhauli (of the inscription and the elephant sculpture). ‘I left Dhauli on the 20th [May], staying the night at Sardhipur. The following day I camped at Bhuvaneshwar. I had intended taking a few photographs here during the morning, but it was one of the hot days, and I had to keep my tent till late in the evening. The next morning I made a few exposures, and returned to Khandgiri.’ Caddy here mentions Cornish’s photographs: ‘I have been trying to get at the right names of these cave. Comparing Fergusson, Cunningham, and Dr Mitter with a recent portfolio of photographs made by Mr Cornish of the Cuttack Police, I find little agreement...’
‘I had to pass and repass through Bhuvaneshwar between my Dhauli and Khandagir camps, and my camera being available, I could not resist the opportunity for using it in this City of Temples’.
Arrived back in Calcutta on 4 June 1895. Supplementary report, written in Calcutta and dated 14 August 1895, records that he made photographs at Bodh Gaya, Kanwa Dhole, Pataliputra, Rajgir Valley. ‘At Gaya, finding I had a Sunday to spare, I drove into Budh-gaya and made a few photographs of the temple, one of which I hope will prove of some interest as it shows the Bodhi tree, the throne-altar with its frieze of sacred geese alternating with the honey-suckle ornament, and the figure of the golden Buddha above the throne.’ At the Kanwa Dhole Hill he visited the Buddha image, but ‘during the little time I had at my disposal here, I was unable to make more than a few hasty observations, relying chiefly on the success of my photographs.’ In addition, ‘There is rather a large village here, and the Buddha image is worshipped with offerings of milk and ghee, with which it was bespattered, garlands of flowers adorning his neck and shoulders when I took my photograph.’
‘By the time I got to the Jagdispur mound it was late in the morning, and the light was least favourable for viewing the great Buddha image...The slab is 15 feet high and 91/2 feet broad, and considering the excellence of the sculpture, the multiplicity of the details, and the fine state of preservation, this work is in every way worthy of being preserved by photography...I took a 12-inch plate plate of this sculpture, but, as I expected, I got but a poor photograph. In the early morning a good photograph is possible. I was too far away then. The stone is very dark, and it is still further obscured by the overhanging nim tree. It faces the north. Every square inch of it is elaboratly figured. It is also so besmeared with ghi into which dust has settled that to prepare it for photography would have been a day’s labour.’
‘I have a few photographs and sketches of Nalanda (Bargaon)...’
‘Many photographs have been developed in Calcutta since the earlier portions of this work were written, and I have no reason to be disappointed with the results. There have been a few accidents, but on the whole I have a fairly complete series of pictures.’
Additional report (Calcutta, 22 August 1895), restates same narrative.
Letter from the Government of Bengal to the Government of India, Department of Revenue and Agriculture (Archaeology and Epigraphy), dated 28 December 1895 submits a letter from Caddy, ‘officer on special duty for the collection of Asoka inscriptions and lately deputed to bring down the sculptures from the Swat Valley and Dargai’, in which he brings to notice the ‘existence of further Buddhistic and other remains in the Swat Valley and its vicinity.’ The letter requests sanction for Caddy to cross the frontier to obtain for the Indian Museum ‘such of the remains as he may be able to collect.’ In their reply of 18 January 1896, the Government of India consented to this course, as long as Caddy placed himself under the authority of the Political Officer. (Copy of correspondence forwarded to Foreign and Military Department).[7] 

  1. Λ IOR/N/1/71 f. 35. 
  2. Λ IOR/N/1/119 f. 86. 
  3. Λ Survey of India Annual Report for 1882-83, part 2, p. 74. 
  4. Λ IOR/N/315 f. 118. 
  5. Λ British journal of photography, 22 Mar 1872. 
  6. Λ C.E. Buckland (Secretary to the Govt. of Bengal), to Secretary to the Govt. of India in the Revenue and Agricultural Dept., dated Darjeeling, 8 September 1895, General Department, Miscellaneous. This report and Caddy’s periodical narrative reports of his activities in the field, are bound together as Report. Reproduction of Asoka Inscriptions, IOL pressmark X1200. 
  7. Λ Proceedings of the Government of India, Department of Agriculture and Revenue (Archaeology and Epigraphy), January 1896, part ‘B’ (tabular), IOR/P/4986. 

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