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Lambert, Gustave Richard (1846-1907); Lai Fong (ca. 1839-1890) & Others. Album with 53 Original Albumen Studio Photographs of Singapore (Singapore River, High Street, Post Office & Exchange, Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank, St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Government House, “Cricket Pavilion on New Year’s Day,” Raffles Place, Sri Mariamman Hindu Temple, a Chinese Mansion, Native Quarter and House Boats, a Street Market, Paddle Steamer “Bangkok,” Parks, “Singapore Fruits,” Tomb of a Sultan in Kuta Raja (Banda Aseh), Portraits of Sultan Abu Bakar of Johor, Sultan Jamalul Kiram II of Sulu, a Teucoe (Aristocrat) from the West Coast of Aceh, a Chinese Locksmith, an Opium Smoker, a Chinese girl in a Rich Traditional Dress, a Native Warrior), Hong Kong (Victoria City and Peak, Praya, Pedder Street and the Clock Tower, Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank, Chinese Houseboats, City Streets, Gardens, a Group Portrait of Chinese Noblemen), Portraits of Javanese Dancers and Musicians, &c. Ca. 1890s.


Ca. 1890s

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Oblong Folio album (ca. 31,5x41 cm or 12 ¼ x 16 in). 17 card stock leaves. With 53 mounted original albumen photos, including 36 large images from ca. 23,5x29,5 cm (9 ¼ x 11 ½ in) to ca. 16x29 cm (6 ½ x 11 ¼ in); the rest of the photos are ca. 10x13 cm (3 ¾ x 5 ¼ in) or slightly smaller. Eleven photos are captioned and numbered in negative; eight photos with period pencil captions in German on the mounts; five photos with blind stamps “G.R. Lambert & Co., Singapore.” Period style green half sheep album with cloth boards; gilt-tooled decorative borders on the boards and the spine; top edge gilt; moire endpapers. Mounts slightly waved, occasional foxing, several images slightly faded, but overall a very good album of strong interesting photos.

Historically significant collection of early original albumen photos of Singapore and Hong Kong. Over thirty views of Singapore were attributed to the noted local studio of Gustave Lambert (See: Digital Collections of Leiden University Libraries). The larger photos show Singapore River with the premises of “Howarth, Lyon & Erskine” in the foreground; High Street and Hotel d’Europe; High Street from Fort Canning; Post Office & Exchange; Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank; St. Andrew’s Cathedral; Government House (Istana); a public gathering in the “Cricket Pavilion on New Year’s Day;” a Chinese mansion; Raffles Place; native quarter and houseboats; a street market; Singapore’s oldest Hindu temple (Sri Mariamman Temple on South Bridge Road); the tomb of a Malay sultan in Kuta Raja (Banda Aseh, Sumatra); paddle steamer “Bangkok” (registered in Singapore in 1881-1913); a pond with Victoria Regia; forested roads; the interior of two opulent rooms; “Singapore Fruits.” There is also a large photograph of a wharf, possibly in Singapore, with docked steamers on the right and native port workers on the left (the sign on the ship in the foreground is “Hankow”). Eleven smaller photos portray Sultan Abu Bakar of Johor (1833-1895), Sultan Jamalul Kiram II of Sulu (1868-1936), a teucoe (aristocrat) from the west coast of Aceh and his bride, a Chinese locksmith, an opium smoker, a Chinese girl in a rich traditional dress, a warrior, and others.

The album also contains six portraits of Javanese dancers and musicians in traditional costumes (one photo with Lambert’s blind stamp). Eleven photos at the rear show Hong Kong: Victoria City and Peak from the sea, the Praya’s embankment with rickshaw drivers and British residents, Pedder Street and the Clock Tower from the wharf (by a notable Chinese photographer, Lai Fong; see more), Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank, Chinese houseboats in the harbour, busy street views, gardens and parks, a group portrait of Chinese noblemen and a park scene.

Overall an important, extensive collection of early, well-preserved original photos of Singapore and Hong Kong.

A list of captions in negative: Hotel de l’Europe and High St. S.pore 16; High St. from Fort Canning. S.pore. 31; Post Office & Exchange. S.pore. 9; St. Andrew’s Cathedral, S.pore. 22; Entrance to Govt. Ground. S.pore. 33; Cricket pavilion on New Year’s Day. S.pore. 20; Chinese dwelling house. 71; Raffles Place. S.pore. 1; Hindoo Temple. S.pore. 70; Country Road. S.pore. 52; Singapore fruits. 104.

“G. R. Lambert & Co., a photographic studio, was established by Gustave Richard Lambert on 10 April 1867 at 1 High Street. The vast collection of prints produced by the studio now serve as a comprehensive source of photographic documentation of early Singapore.

With the advent of photographic technology and an increase in the numbers of Western tourists visiting Singapore, photographic prints produced by Eastern-based studios became popular in the 1870s in the form of tourism souvenirs. The closure of competing studio, Sachtler & Co., provided an opportunity for G. R. Lambert & Co. to ride on the tides and become the “leading photographic artists of Singapore” at the time. Lambert actively managed his business until the 1880s before he left for Europe and handed over the management of the Singapore branch to his partner, Alexander Koch. From the mid-1890s to the 1900s, Koch expanded the business and established studios at Gresham House, Battery Road and Orchard Road. During its heydays, the company also maintained regional branch studios in Medan (Sumatra), Deli (Sumatra), Kuala Lumpur (Federated Malay States) and Bangkok (Siam). The studio was also appointed the official photographer for King Chulalongkorn of Siam and the Sultan of Johor, Abu Bakar” (National Library Board, Singapore).

“Lai Afong was a Chinese photographer who established Afong Studio, considered to be the most successful photographic studio in the late Qing Dynasty. He is widely acknowledged as the most significant Chinese photographer of the nineteenth century” (Wikipedia).

Item #PC54
Price: $5250.00