John Falconer, British Library
A Biographical Dictionary of 19th Century Photographers in South and South-East Asia
35th Madras Native Infantry
In 1861, MacDonald volunteered his services to take the ethnographical photographs requested by Government for transmission to the London International Exhibition of 1862. His work is described in a letter from Charles Saunders, Officiating Commissioner, Mysore, to Secretary to Government, Fort St George, dated Bangalore, 20 August 1861:
With reference to the recent instructions of the Supreme Government to the local Governments and Administrations, on the subject of procuring for Her Majesty’s Government, Photographic likenesses of a few characteristic specimens of the more remarkable tribes to be found in India, I have the honor to request that you will move the Right Honorable the Governor in Council to place at my disposal, as a temporary arrangement, to last for four, or at the furthest six months, Lieutenant H. Macdonald of Her Majesty’s 35th M.N.I., at present on leave at Bangalore, with a view to his affording me his aid as an accomplished Photographer in carrying out the above orders, as far as they concern the Provinces of Mysore and Coorg.
By order No. 1277 of 5 September 1861, permission was given for MacDonald to be temporarily seconded to photographic duties.
2. Lieutenant Macdonald, who obtained at one of the Madras Photographic Exhibitions, a medal for his attainments in that branch of the Arts, has volunteered me his assistance in carrying out the Government instructions, provided that the sanction of the Right Honorable the Governor in Council and of the Commander-in-Chief can be obtained to his services being made available for the above duty without prejudice to his pay or service, and I have therefore to request that, in the event of the Military Authorities being able to dispense temporarily with his service, they may be placed at my disposal, and that an intimation to that effect may be communicated to me if possible by Telegraph, as Lieutenant Macdonald’s present leave will expire by the end of the month, when he will rejoin his Regiment at Bellary, unless otherwise ordered.
Placed at disposal of Commissioner of Mysore to produce ethnographical photographs for the Madras Government, 1861 and contributed photographs to The People of India (8 vols, London, 1868-75).
- Λ Madras public proceedings, 5 September 1861, IOR/P/249/76, p. 809.