WHITE (JOHN CLAUDE) Tibet and Lhasa, Johnston and Hoffman, [1908]
Lot 528
WHITE (JOHN CLAUDE) Tibet and Lhasa, Johnston and Hoffman, [1908]
Sold for £8,125 (US$ 13,481) inc. premium
Lot Details
WHITE (JOHN CLAUDE)
Tibet and Lhasa, 53 photogravure plates, including a folding map, autograph letter signed ("John White") and postmarked envelope from Lhasa pasted down to verso of upper cover, occasional light soiling, contemporary red cloth gilt, spine sunned, oblong 4to (200 x 265mm.), Johnston and Hoffman, [1908]

Footnotes

  • A RARE SERIES OF IMAGES FROM YOUNGHUSBAND'S TIBET MISSION OF 1903-1904. Johnston and Hoffman's promotional catalogue of 1905 mentions that the images were initially issued individually or in albums, as half-tone or carbon prints. They were later issued in a two volume set with letterpress descriptions by C.B. Bayley, dated 1907-08. These were almost immediately withdrawn from circulation for fear that the information contained would reveal classified details to the Chinese. Consequently, very few copies remain and are exceptionally rare. Hardly less rare is the volume offered here was published a few months later. For example, there is no copy of this edition in the British Library.

    When the 1903 expediton was formed White had already been in Sikkim for at least fifteen years. Together with the thrusting Younghusband, and supported by two hundred Indian troops, under the military command of General Macdonald, the expedition was to force the Tibetans to trade with British India, and to investigate concerns that Russia was gaining influence in Lhasa. Although Kurt and Pamela Meyer state in In the Shadow of the Himalayas: A Photographic Record of John Claude White 1883-1908, that "[White's] incomparable photographs have thus turned out to be the only lasting legacy of the ill-fated adventure of the Imperial Raj into Tibet", the expedition succeeded, and was followed by many years of Anglo-Tibetan friendship and trade.

    White's fascinating letter, on Tibet Frontier Commission headed paper, is dated 6.8.04 and addressed from Lhasa to R.H. Morton at a tea estate in Jalpaiguri, West Bengal. In it White mentions a letter written by Morton which he has forwarded to "the Chief Supply and Transport Officer" regarding a "very large order", presumed to be for White's photographs. As he goes on to state: "You can obtain copies of my plates later. At present I have not seen proofs."

    Images in this volume include: two views of Khambajong, the fort that was the first place visited by the Mission and where initial negotiations took place; the Abbot at Khambajong (illustrated); Gyantze Jong; Debung monastery; a group of lamas of Debung monastery; four views at Nejung monastery; a group portrait of the two stewards and senior lamas of Sera monastery; the entrance to Lhasa; eight views of the Potola, the palace of the Dalai Lama; a portrait of Ti Rimpochi, the Regent of Tibet with whom "the Dalai Lama left the ecclesiastical seal when he fled, and it was he who affixed the seal, and his own, to the Treaty signed in the Potola on 7th September 1904"; "The Shapes", or the Executive Council of Four and a group portrait of Tongsa Penlop and his retinue.
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