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GRAHAM, Robert Blackall.

Photographic Illustrations, with a Description of Mandalay & Upper Burmah Expeditionary Force, 1886-87.

By a Cavalry Officer.

Published: Birmingham: A Pumphrey, Photographic Publisher, 1887

Stock code: 96617

Price: £5,000

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This item is on show at 43 Dover Street (map)

First and only edition. Extremely uncommon photographic record of the Third Anglo-Burmese War, COPAC locates BL and SOAS only, OCLC adds just 8 further copies worldwide. A printed slip from the publishers, tipped in after the second blank, explains that on 8 December 1887 their premises have been subject to “a serious fire … the contents have suffered very considerably”, which almost certainly explains the scarcity of the book, and also the sooting at the page edges. Newspaper clipping relating the story mounted on the third blank. The war was the last of three between the Burmese and the British fought during the nineteenth century. Following the Second Anglo-Burmese War, Lower Burma had been annexed to Britain, the Konbaung Dynast retaining sovereignty only of the territories described as Upper Burma. At the conclusion of the third war, Burma was formally annexed to Britain, becoming a province of India. Graham explains that he had originally intended his photographs for his “own satisfaction”, but “later on, when I found so many of my friends were anxious to secure copies, which I had not the time to print, it struck me that they would probably be glad to obtain a Series, as a memento of Burmah, if I could get them done at a moderate price” (“preface”). The pictures “are necessarily small, as they were taken by apparatus capable of being carried by an Officer in the field, the negatives being on Eastman’s paper”. An interesting selection of images; views in and around Mandalay – the Palace, Merchant Street, Kyaung on Mandalay Hill, the Cemetery – together with a series of locations on the Irrawaddy including one of an Irrawaddy Flotilla Company steamer and flats; local “types” – Wayside Food Sellers, A Bishop and Priests, Burmese Dacoits, Silk Sellers in the King’s Bazaar; and group portraits of the Army and British officials – Sir Charles Bernard, Sir George White, Brig.-General East and Sir Charles Arbuthnot and their respective staffs, several of Graham’s regiment, a trooper of the Bengal Cavalry, Chestnut Troop, Bengal 7th, the Medical Staff, Indian Ambulance Corps, “Guns coming into action”. Col. Graham (1838-1918) was born in Agra, the son of Colonel Joseph Graham, 50th. Bengal Infantry. He joined the 7th Bengal Cavalry in May 1856, and saw action with them in the Indian Mutiny, “defence of the Kumaon Hills and Rohilcund against the rebels in 1857-58 … action at Cherpoora and other minor affairs” (Hart’s Army List); and in the Second Anglo-Afghan War, 1880, lines of communication on the Khyber, both of which campaigns he received the medal for. In Burma he was mentioned in despatches, and received the medal and clasp. Contemporary ownership inscription of H.H. Day, together with his bookplate, later bookplate of noted military bibliophile Mark Dineley.

Quarto (287 214 mm) Later red half morocco, old marbled boards, black morocco label. Title page printed in red and black, lithographic plan of Mandalay, and 59 albumen prints (100 133 mm) mounted on thin card leaves, rectos only, within red ruled borders, with accompanying letter-press text. A little rubbed, boards slightly soiled, light browning throughout, the mounting leaves slightly rippled and with some marginal soot-streaking – see below – the majority of the prints remain strong, a few a little faded, and one somewhat spotted, overall very good.

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