Book Description

Over 400 original black and white photographs and sepia tone prints documenting India in the early twentieth century, shot by William Arthur Blackburn Leach using either a ‘3A Graflex’ or a ‘Thornton Pickard Special Ruby’ camera. Each photograph measuring between 10.7 x 8.2cm and 7 x 4.4cm. Occasional duplication. Contained within their original card packets from photograph developers located in Colombo, Bombay, and Shanghai. The photographs have the occasional minor nick or crease, and there is a little fading to some of sepia images, but are otherwise in very good order.
Dealer Notes
A diverse photographic archive documenting life in India during the first two decades of the twentieth century. The collection depicts a wide-range of interesting and thoughtfully chosen subjects, including a number of striking portraits, as well as street scenes (water-carriers, hawkers and traders, markets, docks, children, policemen and soldiers, carriages and wagons, cattle-drivers, elephant and camel riders, religious ascetics, hookah-smokers, and activities around the Ganges) and a number of beautiful images of temples and palaces. The photographs appear to depict a variety of different villages, towns and cities, with named locations including Calcutta, Delhi and Darjeeling.

William Arthur Blackburn Leach (1872-1962) was born in Norwich where he attended a local grammar school, later becoming an apprentice carpenter and engineer. After qualifying, in 1902 he moved to China where he obtained a position in the Public Works Department of the Shanghai Municipal Council. He subsequently spent the rest of his working life in Shanghai, where he also involved himself in a Christian Mission school and in helping to support street children. During his time in China, he seized every opportunity to visit other parts of country, taking a close interest in the lives of those who lived there, and, as a talented amateur photographer, documenting his journeys through thousands of photographs. He travelled home to Britain at least four times during his stay in China, with these visits taking the form of round-the-world trips in which he travelled through the Middle East, Egypt, The Holy Land, India and the Far East, where he took a similarly enthusiastic interest in learning about and recording the day-to-day lives of the local people. On his final return to Britain in 1926, Leach took to lecturing, giving a great many talks on his experiences in China and the numerous other countries which he had traversed.

Provenance: From the estate of William Arthur Blackburn Leach.
Author LEACH, William Arthur Blackburn:
Date [c.1910-1926]
Publisher [Original photographs].

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