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HomeContents > People > Photographers > F.F. DeCruze


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

Amateur, India
In response to official requests for ethnographical photographs for transmission to the London Exhibition of 1862, he writes to the Secretary to the Government of the North-Western Provinces offering his services: ‘Feeling confident of affording satisfaction in taking off good photographic likenesses now, as I have spared no trouble or expense to procure apparatus and chemical to enable me to do so, I would fain trust that my humble application will meet with His Honor’s favorable consideration. A few specimens are herewith submitted for His Honor’s inspection, printed and toned differently.’[1]
DeCruze had been precipitate in purchasing equipment on the assumption that he would win the commission, and W. Johnston (himself a practising photographer), officiating Magistrate and Collector at Allahabad, rejected his work in no uncertain terms: ‘Mr De’Cruze has neither sufficient talent nor experience in the art to justify my recommending him as a fit person to be entrusted with the business’.[2]
DeCruze wrote a further letter pursuing his case for the job:
On the occasion referred to, you were kind enough to hold out a hope that I would get the work of the districts of Allahabad, Futtehpore, and Banda, if Mr Johnston approved of my specimens...Relying on this hope, and the engagement which I had entered into with the Magistrate of Futtehpore, I put myself to the expense of getting the necessary chamicals and apparatus. But to my astonishment, I have lately heard from some of Mr. Bonner’s friends, that you have closed with his offer, and recommended it for the favorable consideration of Government. This bargain I presume could only have been struck for two considerations: 1st, that Mr Bonner’s terms were more favorable; and 2nd, that his specimens were superior to mine. In respect to the first, I beg respectfully to state that that I would have been willing to accept any terms which the Government and yourself had fixed, and that I am now willing to take the likenesses at 2 Rupees each, which is 8 annas less than Mr Bonner’s charge, and not to limit you to the number of sitters that Mr Bonner has done.
In addition to attempting to undercut Bonner, DeCruze also offered excuses for the poor quality of his original samples:
As regards my specimens, I venture to observe that those originally shewn to Mr Johnston were struck off under disadvantages resulting from want of proper chemicals and apparatus, which want has since been supplied, and I now beg to enclose for your inspection likenesses which I have lately taken, accompanied by the opinion regarding them by Mr Kloer, who is a practical photographer. Under these circumstances...I beg that you will do me the favor to grant me the whole or such portion of the work which may at least repay me for the expenses I have already undergone. [3]
At the 29 September 1863 meeting of the Bengal Photographic Society,
a photographic of the Railway Bridge across the Jumna, taken by Mr. D’Cruz, was exhibited. It had been taken in three pieces and then put together. Mr D’Cruz was an amateur photographer, but he was doing his best, and it was gratifying to see that Mofussil Members were doing something to assist the Society.[4]

  1. Λ Letter of 25 Sep 1861, General Proceedings, North-Western Provinces, December 1861, IOR/P/216/8 p.110. 
  2. Λ Letter from W. Johnston, officiating Magistrate and Collector, Allahabad, to Commissioner of Allahabad Division, dated 11 Sep 1861, General Proceedings, North-Western Provinces, December 1861, IOR/P/216/8 p.108-9. 
  3. Λ F.F. DeCruze to the Commissioner of Allahabad, 25 September 1861, North-West Provinces general proceedings, December 1861, IOR/P/216/8 pp. 110-111. 
  4. Λ Journal of the Bengal Photographic Society, vol. 2 no. 4, April 1863, p. 67. 

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