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Canada, Ceylon [Sri Lanka], Aden [Adan] and Galle

Reference Code: GBR/0115/RCS/Y3062B

Scope and Contents

An album containing an excellent, if geographically eclectic, selection of views on prints of various sizes. The photographs are either captioned on the prints or more briefly on the mounts (with the exception of Y3062B/16 which is uncaptioned).

The only two identified photographers in the album are both from the Canadian section:
1-4, ?10 and 11-14 are signed by Alexander Henderson and 1-2 are also dated '1875'. Henderson (1831-1913) emigrated from Scotland to Montreal in 1855 and is recorded in 'The Photographic News' (1859) as being the first American member of the Stereoscopic Exchange Club. He appears to have opened a professional studio in 1866 or 1867, having in 1865 published a volume entitled 'Canadian views and studies by an amateur'. In the 1870s and 80s he became involved with photographing the progress of railway construction, ultimately becoming manager of the Canadian Pacific Railway Photographic Department in 1892. He retired in the late 1890s.
Louis-Prudent Vallée (5, 6, ?7, 8, 9) was born in Quebec (1837) and learned photography in New York. He returned to Quebec in 1867 and worked as a professional photographer, until shortly before his death in 1905. Identification of prints by Vallée is by Joan M. Schwarz of the National Archives, Canada.

The views of Aden and Ceylon are of a similarly high quality to the Canadian material but photographers have not been traced. Many firms were in business in Ceylon by the 1870s but these particular prints remain anonymous. Photographs of Aden at this time are however scarcer and no names of photographers working there during this period have been found. That there were photographers based in Aden however is shown in the following passage:

'Photography - There are two depots, both located at Steamer Point, where portraits are taken by photography; they are, however, but indifferently patronised. Views of the different places of interest in the settlement and neighbourhood can be obtained, and as they have been taken by an amateur who thoroughly understood the art, they are worth the small sum charged for each copy. An excellent panoramic view of the camp was taken by this artist, and can be purchased for Rs6 per copy' Frederick Mercer Hunter, 'An account of the British Settlement at Aden, in Arabia', (London: Trübner, 1877).


  • Creation: 1869 - 1875

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 (


1 album(s) (24 images in 1 album)

Language of Materials


Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

fair to good condition.

Existence and Location of Copies

This collection is available on microfiche: Canada, fiche number 1.


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

Date information

DateText: The dates are approximate..



Includes index.
2003-12-04 11:02:08+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

Cambridge University Library
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Cambridge CB3 9DR United Kingdom