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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Captain Charles Philip Yorke Triscott

Dates:  1824, 6 March - 1880, 13 March

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

Amateur, India
43rd Madras Native Infantry
Letter from R.N. Shore, Officiating Commisioner of the Cuttack Division, responding to requests from Government for information and photographs of the peoples of India, writes,
‘Captain MacNiele, the Agent to the Governor General for the Hill Tracts of Orissa, is to have an escort of two Companies of the 43rd Madras Native Infantry stationed at Cuttack during his ensuing tour among the hills, and it happens that Captain Triscott who commands the escort is an Amateur Photographer of some proficiency. He has expressed himself quite willing to supply the Government with as many photographic likenesses of the tribes among whom his march will lie as he can obtain. Such an opportunity might never again occur, as these wild tracts of country could not be safely traversed without a military force, and probably without the assistance of the Agent’s authority it would not be easy to induce these rude and wild people to sit for their portraits....The expense of carrying photographic apparatus, and the cost of material, (collodion and other chemicals), will fall rather heavily on Captain Triscott; and as there is no time to obtain the instructions of the Lieutenant-Governor, (for Captain Triscott starts this evening,) I have taken the responsibility of guaranteeing to Captain Triscott the re-payment of these expenses. Captain Triscott has made a rough estimate that the cost of say twenty impressions, each of thirty plates, will, including the cost of carriage of the apparatus, be not short of Rupees 400, but it may be more. I have no doubt, however, that His Honor the Lieutenant-Governor will consider such a sum very well re-paid by such a large and interesting collection as we may expect.’[1]
Letter from R.N. Shore of 26 Nov 1861 reports that
‘the escort furnished by the Corps at this station to Captain Macneil having being countermanded, Captain Triscott has returned from Russellcondah without going further into the hills. He has, however, succeeded with Captain Macneil’s kind assistance, obtaining twenty-three photographs as per margin*. I have seen them, and believe that they would form one of the most interesting portions of the collection which the Home Government wishes to procure. Captain Triscott remarks in regard to them as follows:- “Each of these pictures with the exception of the last are on plates 5x4, some standing, others sitting, and all having been taken as nearly as possible at the same distance, they will give a very fair idea of the height, etc., of each tribe. Some are in their war costume and others in their ordinary dress. Women, I am sorry, I was unable to procure as subjects.”’[2]
*4 groups of Khonds, human sacrificed tribes; 1 group of Khonds, female infanticide; 13 Hill Ooriahs of different Zemindaries of Orissa Hill Tracts; 2 Khond chiefs; 1 old woman rescued last year when on the point of being sacrificed with her two children intended for future Meriahs; 1 of the old woman by herself.
In a letter of 20 January 1862, Shore writes that Triscott is unwilling to part with the original negatives of his work.
‘He further states that to enable him to comply with the original request for not plates, but impressions from the plates, he purchased “a largish supply of paper, silver, gold, etc”. Captain Triscott is, I consider, entitled to have these expenses repaid to him, even if Government are not willing to take the impressions in lieu of the plates.’[3]
In a further letter of 23 January 1862, Shore explains that Triscott is unwilling to give up the negatives because, ‘before he was acquainted with the Government wishes, [he had] arranged to dispose of them to another party’. However, he expressed himself willing to loan them to Government for printing as long as they were returned.[4] Government responded on 17 February 1862, stating that ‘as the size of Captain Triscott’s plates is not of the prescribed standard, the Lieutenant-Governor is of opinion that perhaps it would be better for Captain Triscott to print off the requisite number of copies himself, and submit them to this Office, with a descriptive account of the different people represented.’[5] In the event the negatives were sent to Dr Benjamin Simpson for printing.[6] 

  1. Λ Letter of 12 October 1861, Bengal General Proceedings, no.27 of December 1861, IOR/P/15/21. 
  2. Λ Bengal General Proceedings, no.46 of December 1861, IOR/P/15/21. 
  3. Λ Bengal General Proceedings, no.49 of February 1862, IOR/P/15/22. 
  4. Λ Bengal General Proceedings, no.50 of February 1862, IOR/P/15/22. 
  5. Λ Bengal General Proceedings, no.51 of February 1862, IOR/P/15/22. 
  6. Λ Letter of 7 April 1862, Bengal General Proceedings, no.45 of April 1862, IOR/P/15/22. 

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