Lord and Lady Canning Family Album

John Constantine Stanley (British, 1837–1878)

Josiah Rowe (British, ca. 1809–1874)
Albumen silver prints from glass negatives
Image: 24.2 x 20.9 cm (9 1/2 x 8 1/4 in.) Mount: 33 x 26 cm (13 x 10 1/4 in.) Mount (2nd): 30.5 x 24.7 cm (12 x 9 3/4 in.)
Credit Line:
Gilman Collection, Purchase, Cynthia Hazen Polsky Gift, 2005
Accession Number:
2005.100.491.1 (1-80)
  • Description

    Charles John, Viscount and later Earl Canning (1812-1862), assumed his role as governor general of India in 1856 and had the difficult task of dealing with the Indian Mutiny against British rule the following year and pacifying the country after the insurrection. In 1858, Queen Victoria appointed him the first viceroy of the subcontinent. Even in a private moment, looking out over the countryside from the terrace of Barnes Court, his Gothic-style summer residence in Simla, Lord Canning exudes the authority of his rank and displays in his dress the same fastidious style that characterizes his dispatches. Tall and stately in bearing, with a cold, handsome face, Lord Canning was reserved and uncommunicative, though as an administrator he had the reputation of being a stickler for fairness. British residents who opposed his policy of reconciliation in the aftermath of the mutiny gave him the nickname Clemency Canning.
    Both Lord Canning and his wife, Lady Charlotte, were major patrons of photography in India, and Lady Canning was herself an amateur photographer. The elegant album, bound in green morocco, that includes this image comprises 117 photographs which offer a close look at the life of the Cannings from 1858 and 1861. It revolves in great measure around the personality and interests of Lady Charlotte Canning (1817-1861), a fabled beauty in her youth and a former lady-in-waiting to Queen Victoria, with whom she maintained a lively correspondence (see no. 101).
    Lady Canning's unexpected death left her husband inconsolable. A view of the gardens at her favorite country house at Barrackpur, near Calcutta, is among the last pictures in the album; it is dated November 18, 1861, the day of her death.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Caption inscribed in ink on each album page; six pages inscribed in ink: "J.S."; one print inscribed in ink: "By Foley"

  • Provenance

    John Constantine Stanley; Canning estate (?); [...]; (sold, Christie's, South Kensington, October 30, 1986); Gilman Paper Company Collection, New York

  • Notes

    Pierre Apraxine: "This is the only album from the Lord and Lady Canning Suite of albums not in a British institution. The Cannings were patrons of photography in India. The album contains photographs by Captain J. Stanley, aide de camp attached to Lady Canning, and others (Foley) as well as photographs by Lady Canning, who was a watercolorist and amateur photographer herself. It is an extremely important album historically for the beginnings of photography in India and aesthetically for the beauty of the images."