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HomeContents > People > Photographers > George Moncrieff Govan

Dates:  1829, 3 March - 1898, 1 April
Died:  India, Almora

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

Amateur, India
MD, Edinburgh, 1851; LRCS, Edinburgh, 1851; Indian Medical Service (Bengal), 1851-87; served Burma, 1852-3; Indian Mutiny, operations near Delhi, 1859; N.E. Frontier, Bhutan, 1865-6.
Letter dated 1 November 1861 from E.T. Dalton, Commissioner of Chota Nagpore, in response to Government request to information and photographs of peoples of India, writes enclosing a copy of a letter from Dr G.N.[sic] Govan, ‘offering to undertake the duty of supplying photographs of the tribes of the Province...Dr Govan has his own camera, and only asks for the expenses of the chemcicals necessary, which he estimates at Rupees 200. Govan’s letter, dated 29 October 1861, to Dalton reads: ‘I am told that the Government are anxious to have photographs of all the tribes of India. I do not know if any one has been deputed to take photographs of the tribes of Nagpore, but, if not, I would be delighted to do them, and if you could make any representation to that effect to Government, I would be much obliged. I could send you some specimens of my portraits if you chose to look at, or could send some down to Calcutta for the authorities there to judge of. But I can tell you I am thoroughly master of the process, having worked for four years steadily with the best of London artists’ advice on the subject. I take a great interest in the art still, and hav only given it up for the present because I would like to do it on a larger scale than I can at present afford. With the small outlay of a couple of hundred rupees worth of chemicals I could take many views, and all the tribes of Chota Nagpore. I could send to Delhie for my own camera, so there would be no expense there. I would like to do the tribes here simply owing to the interest I take in photography, and all I would ask of Government would be [a] couple of hundred rupees worth of chemicals.’[1] 

  1. Λ Bengal General Proceedings, nos.29-30 of December 1861, IOR/P/15/21. 

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