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HomeContents > People > Photographers > G.W. Bonner


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

Commercial, India
Active in Lucknow.
Letter from C. B. Thornhill, Commissioner of Allahabad, to Secretary to North-West Provinces Government regarding ethnographical photographical photographs for the 1862 London Exhibition, states that ‘I have the honor to submit copy of a letter from Mr Bonner, who offers to undertake this duty in the four districts of the Allahabad Division, at a charge of 2 Rupees 8 annas for each copy, provided there are 15 likenesses to take in each District, or a total of 60 in the Division. The charges of professional photographers are so various that I find it very difficult to obtain any average rates. I am, however, informed that Mr Bonner’s proposal is moderate, and Mr Johnston, who is himself a photographer, pronounces his specimens to be good.’[1]
‘He wanted Rs.1,200, or Rs.4 per print; I thought this charge high, and offered to recommend that he should receive Rs.600, but to this he would not consent, and contended that, as he was a professional Photographer, the price could not be regulated merely by the estimate of the cost of glass, paper, and chemicals, but that his travelling expenses, his living and remuneration for his talent, and the time spent in taking the negatives, and printing the positives, must be taken into consideration; and I confess that his argument is a just one. From the specimens I have seen of Mr Bonner’s skill, I am of the opinion that he is capable of performing the work required most satisfactorily... I think Mr Bonner’s proposal to supply 20 copies each of 15 likenesses from each of the four districts of Allahabad, Banda, Futtehpore, and Cawnpore, at a cost of Rs.3,000, a very fair one, and I think, if it is sanctioned, you ought to call upon each Collector to send you a list of the castes which he proposes to have portrayed, so that you may determine the particular ones to be executed in each district, and thus prevent duplicates being taken, as will most likely be the case if the Collectors work independently of each other.’[2]
Bonner was presumably selected to carry out the commission in preference to F. F. DeCruze (qv) who had also applied unsuccessfully for the work.
Possibly George Wilmot Bonner, who married Maria Wrixon at Cawnpore, 5 Feb 1856, profession given as ‘Clerk in Chief Engineer’s Office.’[3]
Possibly George Wilmot Bonner, who died aet. 42 at Lucknow 2 Dec 1872, profession given as ‘Superintendent of Action.’[4] 

  1. Λ Letter of 13 Sep 1861, General Proceedings, North-Western Provinces, December 1861, IOR/P/216/8/p.108. 
  2. Λ Letter from W. Johnston, officiating Magistrate and Collector, Allahabad, to Commissioner of Allahabad Division, dated 11 Sep 1861, General Proceedings, Noerth-Western Provinces, December 1861, IOR/P/216/8 p.108-9. 
  3. Λ IOR/N/1/89 f. 137. 
  4. Λ IOR/N/1/142 p. 134. 

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