John Falconer, British Library
A Biographical Dictionary of 19th Century Photographers in South and South-East Asia
Inspecting Post-Master, Agra and Bombay Railway.
In 1861, Haygarth offered to take ethnographical photographs which were being requested by Government for transmission to the London International Exhibition of 1862. The cost incurred would be between 3,300 and 4,300 Rupees ‘according to the size of the plates employed’. In a letter from R.J. Meade, Governor-General’s Agent for Central India to Colonel H. M. Durand, Officiating Secretary to the Government of India, Foreign Department, dated Camp Morar, 20 December 1861, Haygarth is referred to as ‘the only other competent person [apart from Captain Sladen, who had left Gwalior] available to undertake the work on the terms customary with professional photographers...The charge that will be thus incurred is stated to be from Rupees 135 to 170 for each plate and set of twenty prints, according to the size of the plates; but this may possibly be somewhat reduced by the printing being executed in Calcutta.’ In a letter to the Governor-General’s Agent for Central India, dated Phool Bagh, 19 December 1861, R. J. Meade, in temporary charge of the Gwalior Agency, enclosed a copy of a letter from Haygarth setting out his terms, and noting that his charges were comparable to those of a professional photographer and, ‘as there will probably be between twenty to thirty sets of likenesses, the amount of charge will, I fear be very considerable.’ He further stated that ‘I have written to Messrs. Lepage ad Co., Calcutta, to ascertain what would be their contract charge for printing, ad if it prove to be more reasonable than Mr Haygarth’s, it would be preferable to take from him only the plates and one print each, and to have the remaining impressions completed by Messrs Lepage and Co.’
Letter from C. S. Haygarth, Agra, to Major R. J. Meade, Political Agent, Gwalior, 9 December 1861:
In reply to your letter No. 474, dated 2nd instant, I beg to inform you that my charges for photographing are noted in the subjoined Memorandum, which is the same as a professional Photographer would undertake to photograph the sizes mentioned.
The official response to this letter was unequivocal, and on 17 January 1862, Colonel H.M. Durand wrote to the Governor-General’s Agent for Central India, that ‘I am directed to inform you that the Governor General in Council considers the charges now proposed to be preposterous and requests that the order to the Photographer be stopped at once.’
With reference to the 3rd paragraph, I would state that the Photographing of two persons on the same plate will entail some additional trouble, inasmuch if one of them is unsteady under exposure, it will be necessary to give two or three trials before a good picture is obtained, this will not add to the charges, but it is mentioned only to show the difficulty of obtaining a sharp focus of two parties for the plate, as in my opinion single portraits are much better defined than two taken in one picture, however, I shall endeavor to comply with your requisition.
The parties to be Photographed will of course be selected by you and sent to my quarters at the Gwalior Staging Bungalow. I shall be obliged if you will kindly give me due intimation when I have to commence the work, should the charges in the memorandum be approved by you.
|Size of plate|| |
|6 inches x 5 inches for the plate||Rs. 30|
|One print of ditto||Rs. 10|
|9 inches x 7 inches for the plate||Rs. 40|
|One print of plate||Rs. 16|
|6 inches x 5 inches charge for 20 prints @ 5 each||Rs. 100|
|9 inches x 7 inches charge for 20 prints @ 6 each||Rs. 120|
I have given the size of two plates for your selection.
The Government letter of instruction is herewith returned.
[India Foreign Proceedings (General), January 1862, IOR/P/205/10 pp. 32-34.]