Albumen print, 10⅞ x 8⅜ inches (27.5 x 21.2 cm.); signed C.A. Co Ltd, Ceylon and titled and numbered Caryota Urens (Kitul) 144 in the negative; titled Ceylon in pencil on the mount; Apothecaries Co Ltd blindstamp.
US $323 €288
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Caryota Urens (Kitul), Botanical Study,
Charles Scowen arrived in Ceylon around 1873 and was initially an assistant to R. Edley, the Commission Agent in Kandy before opening a photographic studio around 1876. By 1885 his photography firm had studios in Colombo and Kandy. Scowen was a later arrival to Ceylon than Skeen and his work is less well-known, but: ‘Much of Scowen’s surviving work displays an artistic sensibility and technical mastery which is often superior to their longer-established competitor. In particular, the botanical studies are outstanding…’ (Falconer, J. and Raheem, I., Regeneration: a reappraisal of photography in Ceylon 1850 –1900, p. 19). In the early 1890s the firm was being run by Mortimer Scowen, a relative of Charles Scowen. By about 1894 the firm’s stock of negatives had been acquired by the ‘Colombo Apothecaries Co Ltd’. This print is likely to have been made in the 1890s from negatives made earlier.
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On the occasion of a Bazaar held in aid of Funds required for the Completion of the first English Church at Dinan, which was begun by the Rev. W. Watson, in 1868. .
‘A Church Bazaar takes place to-day, / And for all aid we humbly pray / Tho’ many have giv’n with liberal hands, / A heavy debt against us stands ....’ Dinan, in Britanny, was popular with English visitors for health or leisure, according to the poem, and for many years English services had been held in a small room. Now a brave vicar had started to build an English church, but had not lived to see it finished. ‘The work he left so well begun, / We surely must not leave undone!’ The church was finished in 1870.