John Falconer, British Library
A Biographical Dictionary of 19th Century Photographers in South and South-East Asia
Bombay Artillery 1854. Transferred to Survey of India in 1862, where he spent the rest of his career (see below for details of service). Contributed to The People of India (8 vols, 1868-75), and was a government photographer. Also an amateur artist of note.
First commissioned into Bombay Artillery, June 1854; accompanied Persian Expeditonary Force, 1856; joined Survey Department, October 1862 and employed on various revenue surveys; Deputy Superintendent of Surveys, April 1870; accompanied Lushai Expedition, 1871-72; Khyber Column in Afghan Campaign of 1878-79; i/c Darjeeling and Nepal Boundary Parties, Nov 1882; employed with Tibet Mission from May 1886; reverted to military duty, 1890 (India List, 1896).
In July 1861 the Bombay Government received a list from the Government of India forwarding a list ‘of the more remarkable tribes to be found in India’ and requesting ‘the assistance of this Government in procuring for Her Majesty’s Government photographic likenesses of a few characteristic specimens of such of them as exist within the Bombay Presidency.’ A letter was therefore despatched to the Commissioner in Sind on July 10 1861 asking what would be the best means of effecting this.
Commissioner of Sind ‘recommends that Captain Houghton and Lieutenant Tanner be entrusted with the duty of obtaining photographic likenesses of various tribes in Sind.’ The Bombay Government approved this request on 16 August 1861, subject to the Commander-in-Chief’s approval.
‘The Commissioner in Sind forwards certain specimens of photographic likenesses executed by Lieutenant Tanner.’ On 18 October 1861, Bombay replied that ‘The specimens are approved, and the Commissioner is informed that any expense incurred for printing the copies required by the Home Government will be passed by Government.’
In November a further batch of Tanner’s photographs was sent. On 6 November these were approved by Government and ‘the Commissioner in Sind is requested to have the photographs printed, and twenty copies of each forwarded, with descriptive notes.’
Civil Pay Master submits a bill for Rs. 270-2-0, for expenses incurred by Tanner. Account debited and deducted from exhibition funds.
Civil Pay Master submits bill for Rs. 93-4-6 for Tanner’s photographic expenses. Passed and charged to exhibition.
‘Commissioner in Sind reports that he has authorized a passage per steamer to Bombay and back being provided for a Moonshee and peon proceeding in charge of native records required by Major Goldsmid to complete the descriptive accounts of the individuals photographed.’ Sanctioned 21 April 1862.
Two letters received from the Commissioner in Sind relating to Tanner and Houghton’s photographs. Acknowledgements of Government sent to Tanner and Houghton and copies of papers forwarded to Home Government (see letter to the Under-Secretary of State for India, No. 797, dated 12 May 1862).
Asiatic Societies of Bengal and Bombay request sets of the photographs prepared for the London Exhibition. Houghton and Tanner requested to print and forward to Government a set of the Sind photographs for transmission to the two societies.
Letter from the Commissioner in Sind No. 166, dated 19th February 1868 -
‘Stating, with reference to Government Resolution No. 1610, dated 23rd September 1867, that photographs of ancient architectural structures, etc., as per list given by him, taken by Captains Houghton and Tanner, who were specially employed on the duty, were submitted to Government in 1862; and, with reference to paragraph 2 of Resolution No. 1548, dated 9th September 1867, expressing his regret that copies of the photographs taken of the various races in Sind, and sent to Government, have not been preserved.’
‘Obtained his commission in the Bombay Artillery from the Hon’ble East India Company’s Military College at Addiscombe on the 8th June 1854; joined the Survey Department from the E. Brigade, Royal Horse Artillery, as Assistant in the Sind Revenue Survey on 10th October 1862; transferred from the Sind Party to Chanda, Central Provinces; the party became the 4th Division, Central Provinces Revenue Survey, in February 1865; sick leave from 18th February to 13th March 1866; furlough to Europe from 14th March 1866 to 11th May 1867; after rejoining from furlough, on duty in the head-quarters office, Calcutta, from 11th May to 23rd June 1867; assumed charge of the 3rd Division, Central Provinces Revenue Survey at Saugor, 24th June 1867; transferred with the party to the Nimar in November 1867; Officiating Deputy Superintendent, 3rd Grade, 6th November 1868; promoted to Deputy Superintendent, 3rd Grade, 1st April 1870; assumed charge of the Bombay City Survey in addition to his other duties, December 1869; transferred with the 3rd Division, Central Provinces Survey, to Bhawalpur; designation on party changed to 1st Division, Bhawalpur Revenue Survey, November 1870; transferred to the Topographical Party, which accompanied Sir Charles Brownlow’s column to the Lushai Hills, from 1st November 1871 to 30th April 1872; on return from the Lushai Expedition transferred to charge of 4th Division, Central Provinces, 29th August 1872; designation of party altered to 11th Deccan Topographical Party, 1st October 1872; promoted to Major, 8th June 1874; furlough on private affairs on 25th August 1876; rejoined 11th Division, Deccan Survey, on expiration of furlough, 28th April 1877; ordered to join the Khyber column, under Lieutenant-General Sir Samuel Brown, as surveyor, November 1878; joined the Great Trigonometrical Survey Office at Mussoorie on completion of Afghanistan campaign in June 1879; on special duty to Gilgit from July 1879 to 18th April 1882; promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel, 22nd November 1879; furlough for 6 months, 19th May 1882; assumed charge of Darjeeling and Nepal Boundary parties, 1st November 1882; Officiating Deputy Superintendent, 2nd Grade, from 7th November to 31st December 1882; and from 14th March 1883 to 30th September 1884; promoted to Brevet Colonel, 8th June 1884; and to Deputy Superintendent, 2nd Grade, 1st October 1884; services placed under the disposal of the Foreign Department for employment with the Tibet mission from May 1886.
‘RESOLUTION. - The Commissioner should be asked whether the subjects specified in his present letter comprehend all ancient architectural structures or their remains in the Province of Sind, as the Government of India require complete lists.
2. As no copies of the photographs taken of the various races in Sind have been preserved, of the two sets under return to this country from the India Office Museum one should be sent to the Bombay Branch, Royal Asiatic Society, and the other to the Asiatic Society of Bengal. The incomplete set of nineteen photographs may be placed in the University Library.’
Accompanied the Persian Expeditonary Force of 1856 as Subaltern in No. 5 Light Field Battery, and was present at the landing at Halila Bay, the taking of Reshire and Bushire, and the battle of Kushat - medal and clasp; accompanied a force despatched after the rebels from Kurrachee to Nugger Parker in May 1859; accompanied Sir Charles Brownlow’s column during the Lushai Expedition in November 1871 as Surveyor - clasp - mentioned in despatches, and received the thanks of the Government of India; accompanied Sir Samuel Brown’s column, 1st Division, Peshawur Valley Field Force, as Surveyor, from the commencement to the termination of hostilities in 1878-79.’
[IOR/L/MIL/9/226 ff. 101-07; Bombay public proceedings 1861-62, IOR/P/33-36; Beryl Tanner, Salute to the early mountaineer (Calne, 1961, OIOC P/T 4575); obit. notice by Sir Henry Thuillier in Royal Geographical Society Journal, 1898).
- Λ Bombay Public Proceedings, July 1861, IOR/P/352/34 No. 538
- Λ Bombay Public Proceedings, August 1861, IOR/P/352/34 No. 644.
- Λ Bombay Public Proceedings, October 1861, IOR/P/352/34 No. 851.
- Λ Bombay Public Proceedings, November 1861, IOR/P/352/34 No. 902.
- Λ Bombay Public Proceedings, March 1862, IOR/P/352/35 No. 222.
- Λ Bombay Public Proceedings, April 1862, IOR/P/352/35 No. 241.
- Λ Missing reference.
- Λ Bombay Public Proceedings, May 1862, IOR/P/352/35 No. 328.
- Λ Bombay Public Proceedings, May 1862, IOR/P/352/35 No. 329.
- Λ Bombay Public Proceedings, March 1868, IOR/P/441/51 No. 246.
- Λ Services of Surveyors, IOR/V/13/281.