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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Charles Scowen

Other: Charles T. Scowen 
Other: Charles T. Scowen & Co. 
Other: Scowen & Co. 
Active:  Ceylon
Charles Scowen produced an incredible number of photographs of Ceylon, landscapes, people and events. Between W.L.H. Skeen and Charles Scowen they covered every part Ceylon. Scowen arrived in Ceylon in 1873 employed as an assistant to R. Edley a Commission Agent. It would appear that his love of the beauty of Ceylon lured him away from this job to become a photographer and he opened his first studio in Kandy in 1876. Nothing is known of his past experience in photography, but it is very obvious that he was a first rate photographer with a good eye for detail. By 1885 he had studios in Colombo and Kandy. During the mid 1890s, the entire stock of Scowen negatives was acquired by Colombo Apothecaries Co.
PLEASE NOTE: It is unclear if Charles Scowen took all the photographs himself and we would welcome any further research on photographers that worked for Charles T. Scowen & Co. and the years they did so. As soon as we are able to distinguish different photographers we will include the details here. (January 2007)

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If you have a portrait of this photographer or know of the whereabouts of one we would be most grateful.
Family history 
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John Falconer, British Library 
A Biographical Dictionary of 19th Century Photographers in South and South-East Asia

Commercial, Ceylon
Arrived in Ceylon, c. 1873; Assistant to R. Edley, Commission Agent, Kandy, 1874;[1] Photographer, Trincomalee Street, Kandy, 1875;[2] Photographer, 19 Queen Street, Colombo 1883[3] and Ward Street, Kandy, by 1885; C.T. Scowen in Europe in 1885, the firm managed by C. Scowen; C.T. Scowen, photographer, York Street, Fort, Colombo and Ward Street, Kandy, 1891-92; Mortimer Scowen, photographer, Colombo, 1893-94; (?)stock purchased by the Colombo Apothecaries Company in the 1890s. M. Scowen is listed as a proprietory planter, Giddawa, Wattegama in the almanac for 1914-15.
[Only checked in broken run of almanacs] 

  1. Λ (ed.) A.M. Fergusom, The Ceylon Directory; Calendar and compendium of useful information for 1874 (Colombo, 1874). 
  2. Λ (ed.) A.M. Ferguson, The Ceylon Directory; Calendar, and Compendium of useful information for 1875 (Colombo 1875). 
  3. Λ The Ceylon handbook and directory...1883-84 (Colombo, 1884). 

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Images of Ceylon 
A wonderful resource for showing the range of 19th and early 20th century photographs of Ceylon. 
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