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Descriptive album of the country and people of Sarawak

Reference Code: GBR/0115/RCS/Y3035A

Scope and Contents

An album containing platinum prints, most measuring approximately 145 x 105 mm, with letterpress captions pasted beneath the prints. The captions have been used as titles and may include language which is offensive, inaccurate or inappropriate. They have been retained to reflect the context of the collection's creation. The album is stamped 'Sarawak' on the front cover but contains no further publication details: the title here given is taken from Appendix II of Hose (1927).

The first 16 plates of the album show scenes in and around Kuching, the capital of Sarawak; the remainder of the album is devoted to studies of Dyak life and culture, with portraits, architectural views and the documentation of cultural pursuits forming the bulk of the material. Many of these photographs were reproduced in Hose's own books and those of other writers.

Photographs by Charles Hose and Robert Shelford.


  • Creation: 1884-03 - 1900


Conditions Governing Access

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 Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (

Biographical / Historical

Charles Hose was born in Willan, Hertfordshire on October 12th 1863. He was the son of Thomas Charles Hose and Fanny (née Goodfellow). He was educated at Felsted and Jesus College, Cambridge. He married Emily Ravn in 1905 and had one son and one daughter. Hose entered the service of the Raja of Sarawak as a Sarawak cadet in March 1884. In 1888 he was Officer-in-Charge of the Baram District. In January 1891 he was Resident, 2nd class. By May 1904 he was Resident, 3rd Division, a member of Supreme Council and Judge of the Supreme Court of Sarawak. He retired in 1907 but he revisited Sarawak in 1909 and 1920. From 1916 to 1919 he was Superintendent of H.M. Explosives Factory, Kings Lynn. In 1919 he was a member of the Sarawak State Advisory Council at Westminster. In 1924 at the British Empire Exhibition in Wembley he was the Director of Agricultural and Industrial Exhibits, Sarawak Pavilion. Hose was a keen amateur photographer and also made a large collection of fauna and flora from Sarawak. He died on November 14th 1929 and, subsequently, a large part of his collection of Sarawak material was presented to the British Museum.

The Sarawak Civil Service List gives further details of his activities in Sarawak: 'While in Sarawak [Hose] distinguished himself as a geographer, anthropologist and collector of natural history specimens. His numerous journeys in the Baram District, which he was the first Officer to explore thoroughly, brought him into contact with many interior tribes, who, through his influence, came under Sarawak control and made peace with Sarawak tribes. Conducted a successful expedition in the Ulu Rejang with a force of two hundred Kayans against Dyaks on Bukit Batu April to June 1904. While Resident of the Third Division was instrumental in effecting the surrender of Bantin and disaffected tribes of the Empran, Engkari and Kanowit districts. After leaving Sarawak he was responsible for bringing to the notice of the Anglo-Saxon Petroleum Company the possibilities of the Miri Oilfield and for conducting negotiations between H.H. the Rajah and that Company, resulting in the exploitation of that field, which, in point of production of oil, is now the second largest within the countries under the control of protection of Great Britain'.

Robert Walter Campbell Shelford was born in Singapore on the 3rd August 1872. He was educated at King's College, London and Emmanuel College, Cambridge. From 1895 to 1897 he was a demonstrator in biology at the Yorkshire College, Leeds. From 1897 to 1904 he was the curator of the Sarawak Museum, Kuching. Shelford was in the Hope Department, Oxford University Museum 1905-12. Shelford married the daughter of Reverend Alfred Richardson in June 1908 and died at Margate on the 22nd June 1912.


1 album(s) (171 images in 1 album)

Language of Materials


Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

the binding of the album is loose as are the pages, but the photographs are in generally good condition.

Existence and Location of Copies

This collection is available on microfiche: South East Asia, number 13-14.


The full citation for this volume is: Hose, Charles and Shelford, Robert (1900), 'Descriptive album of the country and people of Sarawak', Harpenden: Valentine and Co. The following works have been examined, and where they contain prints from the album this has been noted in the catalogue, together with any variant captioning or supplementary information: Hose, Charles and McDougall, William (1912), 'The pagan tribes of Borneo', London: MacMillan; Hose, Charles (1926), 'Natural man, a record from Borneo', London; Hose, Charles (1927), 'Fifty years of romance & research, or, A Jungle-Wallah at large', London: Hutchinson and Co.; Gomes, Edwin H. (1911), 'Seventeen years among the Sea Dyaks of Borneo', Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott company; Shelford, Robert Walter Campbell (1916), 'A naturalist in Borneo', London: Unwin.


This item level description was entered by MJC and NE using information from the original typescript catalogue.


Hose, Charles, 1863-1929, civil servant; Shelford, Robert Walter Campbell, 1872-1912, naturalist

Includes index.
2004-07-22 09:46:03+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

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