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Fisher, Alfred Hugh, 1867 -1945 (artist and photographer)

 Person

Biography

Alfred Hugh Fisher was born in London in 1867 and educated at the City of London School and University College. After 9 years in a city office he relinquished business for art and studied at Lambeth, South Kensington and Paris under Laurens and Constant.

On 29th July 1907 he was chosen by the Visual Instruction Committee to illustrate lecture materials about the Empire for use in British schools. His appointment was for up to three years from 1st September at a salary of £25 a month, plus traveling and subsistence allowance. The Committee reserved to themselves absolute control over the work produced by him during his engagement. It was thought that the scheme would need some 1800 slides, elected from an average of 3 original each. Priority was to be given to Canada, India and South Africa, with Australia and New Zealand, the West Indies, East and West Africa, the Mediterranean and ocean routes as further areas. Fisher would work under the direction of Sir Halford Mackinder, who was to be paid a salary of £300 for his general oversight of the project, in addition to fees for preparing lectures. As Fisher was an artist and not a photographer, he was trained in photographic techniques by the two senior employees of Emery Walker of Sussex House, at a fee of 5 guineas for 10 lessons.

The original aim was to send Fisher to Ceylon and India, then through East Asia to Canada, returning to the United Kingdom in May 1908, with a subsequent journey on the reverse route returning via the Mediterranean; this would enable him to photograph India and Canada at different seasons. However, it was later decided to cover the whole of India in one visit, and Canada the following year. Mackinder issued detailed instructions to Fisher in October. His itinerary included several stops of two or three days in one place since it was thought that he would be able to absorb the atmosphere better than at too rapid a movement from place to place, and he was given authority to purchase photographs for important areas he could not visit. He was to have the educational rather than the pictorial aspect in mind and was to present both the 'native characteristics of the country' and the 'super-added characteristics due to British rule'. He was advised to give a feeling of movement where possible by having people engaged in some activity in the foreground rather than static views of buildings etc. The negatives were to be sent to Newman and Guardia, who would develop them and prepare one print each; the list of photographs taken and the paintings were to be sent direct to Mackinder.

Fisher's journey to Ceylon, India and Burma was originally intended to include Somaliland, Cyprus, Malta and Gibraltar, but he was instructed to omit the last two in order to arrive back in London in time for a projected showing of slides in the presence of the Princess of Wales. This did not in fact take place. Fisher resumed his travels on 24 July 1908 and went to Canada, in which he followed a rather complicated route before sailing from Vancouver on 28 October to visit Wei-hai-wei, Hong Kong, part of the Chinese mainland, Singapore and North Borneo. March 1909 found him back in Canada where he saw something of the end of the winter.

During the summer of 1909 the Princess of Wales attended a meeting on the project at Caxton Hall. £150 was spent on renewing and improving Fisher's equipment and he spent six weeks in the U.K. trying out the apparatus and taking photographs of British scenes for use in lectures for Canada and South Africa. At this time too he married Lillias Wyman.

His final tour was via Gibraltar and Malta to New Zealand, the Pacific and Australia, but money was running out; he was instructed to omit Papua and in 1910 he was informed that no more money was available for expenses and he could not be offered a further engagement. Fisher produced vivid and interesting descriptions of his journeys. His later writings appear to have been chiefly poetry. Lillias Fisher died in 1930 and Hugh Fisher died 2 July 1945.

Sources:

Typescript copy of 'Index to Photographers'.

Found in 7 Collections and/or Records:

 File

Diary letters, 1907 - 1910

Reference Code: GBR/0115/RCS/RCMS 10/1
Scope and Contents

Letters written by Fisher to Halford Mackinder describing his travels (circa 2,000 pages).

Dates: 1907 - 1910
Conditions Governing Access: From the Fonds: Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact mss@lib.cam.ac.uk. Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (www.lib.cam.ac.uk).
 Sub-Series

Paintings, 1907 - 1910

Reference Code: GBR/0115/RCS/RCMS 10/5
Scope and Contents

Paintings created by Alfred Hugh Fisher for the Colonial Office Visual Instruction Committee. Fisher's titles and captions have been recorded as found. They may include language which is offensive, inaccurate or inappropriate, but have been retained to reflect the context of the collection's creation. Captions supplied by the cataloguer are enclosed in square brackets.

Dates: 1907 - 1910
Conditions Governing Access: From the Fonds: Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact mss@lib.cam.ac.uk. Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (www.lib.cam.ac.uk).
 File

Volume XXIV : Maltese Islands, Victoria, Tasmania, November 1909, 1909-11

Reference Code: GBR/0115/RCS/Fisher 24
Scope and Contents This album now contains photographs numbered in the ranges 6178-6238A and 6501-6612 (originally there were 167). Added numbers are 6238A, 6515A and 6547A; spoiled: 6198; not used: 6210, 6212, 6217, 6228, 6232, 6502, 6604 and 6611; missing: 6184, 6197, 6199, 6205, 6209, 6211, 6220, 6230, 6233, 6235, 6501, 6513-6516, 6520-6521, 6527-6529, 6538, 6540, 6545, 6552-6554, 6556-65563, 6565, 6582, 6600-6602, 6605-6606 and 6608.Subjects covered in this album are: Malta: views from sea -...
Dates: 1909-11
Conditions Governing Access: From the Fonds: Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact mss@lib.cam.ac.uk. Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (www.lib.cam.ac.uk).
 File

Volume XXIX : Fiji and New South Wales, 1910, 1910

Reference Code: GBR/0115/RCS/Fisher 29
Scope and Contents The album now contains photographs numbered in the range 7455-7491; 7334-7344 and 7494-7634. Added numbers are: 7519A-7528A; spoiled: 7484-7486, 7525, 7562, 7611-7614, 7621 and 7626; not used: 7459-7460, 7463, 7526-7528, 7336, 7340, 7543-7544; missing: 7455-7456, 7458, 7462, 7464, 7471, 7473, 7476, 7480, 7489, 7334-7335, 7337-7339, 7341, 7533, 7535-7537, 7540-7541, 7547, 7550, 7560-7561, 7570, 7585, 7608, 7618, 7620, 7624, 7631. The photographs are not arranged totally in numerical order...
Dates: 1910
Conditions Governing Access: From the Fonds: Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact mss@lib.cam.ac.uk. Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (www.lib.cam.ac.uk).
 File

Volume XXVI : New Zealand, 1910, 1910

Reference Code: GBR/0115/RCS/Fisher 26
Scope and Contents

The album now contains photographs numbered in the range 6787-7005 (originally there were 173 in the album). Added numbers are: 6933-7005; not used: 6791, 6821, 6834 and 6872; missing 6790, 6792-6794, 6802, 6809, 6812, 6814, 6848-6849, 6936-6937, 6941, 6944, 6947, 6981, 6984, 6989-6890, 6992-6993 and 6995.

Dates: 1910
Conditions Governing Access: From the Fonds: Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact mss@lib.cam.ac.uk. Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (www.lib.cam.ac.uk).
 File

Volume XXVII : New Zealand, 1910

Reference Code: GBR/0115/RCS/Fisher 27
Scope and Contents The album now contains photographs numbered in the range 7006-7085 (originally there were 100). Added numbers: 6891-6917; spoiled: 7034, 7035, 7051, 7052, 7066; not used: 7012 and 7074.Subjects covered in the album are:New Zealand: Dunedin; journey to Southern Alps: Burke's Pass, Lake Tekapo, Lake Pukaki, Mount Cook, Tasman Glacier, Hochstetter; Balmoral: sheep shearing; Timaru; Christchurch: Lincoln Agricultural College: Domain Fete and general; Wellington: from sea;...
Dates: 1910
Conditions Governing Access: From the Fonds: Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact mss@lib.cam.ac.uk. Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (www.lib.cam.ac.uk).
 File

Volume XXVIII : New Zealand, Tonga and Fiji, 1910, 1910

Reference Code: GBR/0115/RCS/Fisher 28
Scope and Contents The album now contains photographs numbered in the following ranges: 6918-6932; 7086-7097 and 7300-7454. Added number is: 7397A; spoiled: 7353-7356, 7368-7387, 7390, 7426, 7437-3742 (some due to shipwreck); not used: 6928-6929, 7301, 7326, 7331-7332, 7391 and 7430; missing: 6923, 6925, 6931-6932, 7300, 7302-7306, 7308-7313, 7322, 7324-7325, 7329-7330, 7333, 7345-7346, 7348, 7377-7379, 7388-7389, 7392, 7397A, 7399-7403, 7406, 7409-7410, 7414, 7416-7419, 7422, 7431, 7433, 7447-7448 and 7452. ...
Dates: 1910
Conditions Governing Access: From the Fonds: Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact mss@lib.cam.ac.uk. Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (www.lib.cam.ac.uk).

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  • Subject: Oceania (continent) X
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Australia (nation) 5
New Zealand (nation) 4
Europe (continent) 3
Fiji (nation) 3
Asia (continent) 2