HONG KONG A pair of albums compiled by Alfred J. May, D.S.O. sometime teacher and headmaster at Hong
Lot 218
HONG KONG A pair of albums compiled by Alfred J. May, D.S.O. sometime teacher and headmaster at Hong Kong, mostly photographs of, or taken in, Hong Kong, others in England, Ceylon, Japan, Aden or Egypt (including the aftermath of the Bombardment of Alexandria)
Sold for £31,200 (US$ 51,721) inc. premium
Lot Details
HONG KONG
A pair of albums compiled by Alfred J. May, D.S.O. sometime teacher and headmaster at Hong Kong, mostly photographs of, or taken in, Hong Kong, others in England, Ceylon, Japan, Aden or Egypt (including the aftermath of the Bombardment of Alexandria), approximately 180 photographs in all (of varying sizes, mostly albumen prints), cloth and half calf, defective, folio and oblong folio, c.1865-1908 (2)

Footnotes

  • From these albums it seems possible to trace the career of May, beginning at St. John’s College, Hurstpierpoint c.1864-1873 (3 images). He seems to have gone straight to Hong Kong around 1874-1875 judging by a substantial group of largely professional images dated to this period by their captions. These include: City Hall, General view Native town, General view European Quarter (a panorama of three plates joined, creased at folds), Race course, Fountain in front of City Hall, Fountain and band-stand in the Public Gardens, General View of Government House, and Public Gardens, Birds’ eye view of Hong Kong from the Peak, Queen’s Road, and General view St. Paul’s College (where May was appointed as the master-in-charge with 102 pupils in 1876). There are two other views of St. Paul's with the captions dated 1877. From the early period there is also a series of 11 albumen prints by William Pryor Floyd recording the devastation wrought by the typhoon of 22 September 1874 (nos. 1-3, 7-10, 12, 15, 22, 23) each with printed caption below. By 1881 May was third master at the Government Central School (later briefly Victoria College before becoming Queen's College), and in that year he became headmaster of the short-lived Normal School in Wanchai, designed to train teachers. This was closed in 1883, and May returned to the Government Central School, one album containing four images showing the Chinese pupils of eleven classes of 1886 against a backdrop with other Chinese children (May seems to have been the master in charge of the two eldest forms, in which case Sun Yat-Sen was one of his pupils). Two views of H.M. Consulate Amoy are also dated to 1886. May seems to have married about this time and lived at 3 Mountain View, The Peak of which there are external and internal views of a slightly later date; other views include a panorama of the Hill District. Images dated 1887-1888 include the officers of the Zetland Lodge and a good external view of the building, and two internal views of St. John's Cathedral. There are two goups of staff at Queen's Collage in 1896, and a view of the college in 1905 with pupils in the courtyard and 12 half-plate groups of Chinese pupils (presumed the same year) and another external view dated 1906 when according to the caption May was acting headmaster. There are other photographs of Hong Kong (including severe rain storm of 1888 (10), severe frost at Hong Kong 1893 (3) as well as family photographs from both Hong Kong and England to where the family returned around 1907). The albums also contain 3 carte-de-visite portraits of Singhalese; 6 carte-de-visite views of Singapore; 33 carte-de-visite views of Hong Kong and mainland China; Sir Henry Blake and Li Hung-chang with their staffs at Hong Kong July 1900 (loose with Mee Chueng stamp on verso); Zaifeng Prince Chun with attendants at Government House 1902.
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