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HomeContents > People > Photographers > William Elphinstone Underwood


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

Amateur, India
Madras Civil Service, 1822- . Collector of Sea Customs at Madras in 1855.
Showed a number of views at the Madras Exhibition of Raw Products, Arts and Manufacturers of Southern India, 1855 and received Honorable Mention for a ‘variety of photographic portraits’:
‘Mr Underwood exhibits some small views taken on glass by the collodion process, but one or two of them are solarised, the view of the barracks in the Fort is well focused...Mr Underwood contributes a great variety of portraits in different styles positive, negative, and colored portraits. Among these are some good negatives printed on paper, but the effect of a few is spoilt by the light being too strong at the lower part of the figure, giving the outlines of the chair and dress a cut out appearance; one or two are also spoilt by being in bad proportion to the frames some of which are oval, others square or too much rounded at the corners. The Jury considers this collection worthy of honorable mention...Some photographs executed by Mr Underwood, and placed by him in the Exhibition, subsequently to the decision of the Jury, to which these articles had been submitted were superior specimens of the art, and would, it is thought, have been entitled to a 2nd Class Medal, Had they been submitted prior to the assembling of the Jury in Class XXX.’[1]

  1. Λ Madras Exhibition of raw products, arts, and manufactures of Southern India, 1855. Reports by the Juries, (Athenaeum Press, Madras, 1856), pp. 134-5. 

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