China: mid-1890s-1910s. Hardcover. An extraordinary cache of images revealing the life of the Western legal elite in Hong Kong and Shanghai during the 1890s thru 1910. The photograph albums are from the family of William Venn Drummond (1841-1914), the English barrister living in Hong Kong and Shanghai for many years during the 1870s and early 1900s. The Drummond family social life included Crown Solicitors of Hong Kong; Attorney Generals, a founder of the University of Hong Kong, Chief Justices of HK, Colonial treasurer; Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of HK, founders of the Law Society of Hong Kong, etc.
Most photographs are captioned, either by hand written or typed in English and many described on the verso and dated 1876 - 1910. The inscriptions from one album are in the hand of "Anna Campbell Gray", with dates of her own knowledge and quite possibly inaccurate. Anna appears to be the sister of Iver Drummond's wife, Lucy Elizabeth Campbell, daughter of the American Consul in China. This helps to explain how the albums ended up in America. Besides the Drummond family photographs, images include Asian visitors (Chinese captions), bound feet ("the woman was later murdered"), opium smoker, buffalo, Kang punishment, a detailed series of appalling images of the "Last official execution of criminals by sword", the Drummond houses at Bubbling Well Road, their second home "Dennartt", racehorses kept at Dennartt, images of the sumptuous interiors at Dennartt, son (Iver) James Drummond with Customs officers. 35 images range in size 2x4" to 8x10", some attached to card. With the decorative front board 'Scrap Album' front board with the Drummond bookplate on the side cover.
"Hong Kong 1891". The second album of vernacular pictures documents the men's trip through the Suez Canal to Hong Kong, (three studio images of Port Said by Zangaki), Macao, and up the Canton River, possibly in honor of one of the group's wedding. Scenic images include "Our New House Hong Kong 1891" on the Peak, Macao and Canton River photos are dated 1891, with H.E.P. and Hastings traveling by house boat to Kam Shan 'our furthest point", the Saunders' wedding photo from 1889, Chinese servants, a bathing group on a beach, a foray to Gap Rock. Many images are of the leading lights of the Colonial judiciary, including hamming it up with one carried in a litter, and a "Fancy Dress Group Hong Kong 1891. Monk - H.E. Pollock Baby- H. Gedge Jack Tar- J. Hastings". The album ends with "A "Recitation Without Words" a group shot with Johnson, Hastings, Gedge, H.E.P., Sir J. Russell, and Wilkinson. Captioned in pen are the names: Cruickshank, Hastings, Dowler, Saunders, Stokes, Pennington, H.E.P., Gedge, Pollock, Tozer, Wilkinson and "This photograph was taken with Magnesium (sic) light". Some nicknames include Capt. Butcher (unknown) and Briefless, Teetotaler and Grand Turk (Pollock).
"For over thirty years William Drummond was the leading barrister in Shanghai. Having begun his career in Hong Kong, he made his name representing not only British but also Chinese clients, for whom he appeared in both the Consular and Mixed Courts. Often provoking antagonism among Westerners for his espousal of Chinese interests, he nevertheless remained a typical Shanghailander, supporting the presence in and semi-autonomy of the International Settlement. By giving the Chinese a voice in these Western-style courts, and through various philanthropic causes, Drummond contributed considerably to forging the collaborative relationships which underpinned that presence."*
Sml. folio album, 11x15", 42 albumen photographs & 1 magnesium light photograph ranging in size 4.5 x 7.5" to 8x10", mounted on 26pp, with the following 18pp blank. Quarter black leather and green cloth with spine label in green & gilt titled. Respined, covers slt. scuffed, images in very good condition with some minor marking on page margins not affecting images.
The other album was crumbling and has been re-mounted on acid free paper 11x14", in archival plastic sleeves, mounted on acid free paper with archival corner mounts, in an acid free box. 35 albumen photographs which range in size 2x4" to 8x10", some attached to the original card mount. With the decorative front board 'Scrap Album' front board with the Drummond bookplate on the side cover.
People identified in the album include:-
William Venn Drummond & wife Christian and many others of the Drummond family,
including son-in-law Harry Mason Hillier (1851-1924)- who spent 40 years in the Chinese Maritime Customs Service, pictured in a Drummond family photo with his wife Maggie Drummond Hillier & James Iver Drummond (1868- 1913), always known as Iver, – Imperial Maritime Customs, 1887-1913.
Alfred Bulmer Johnson – Crown Solicitor HK 1882-1896. Johnson Stokes & Master est. 1863 in Hong Kong by Edmund Sharp as a sole proprietorship at a time when Hong Kong had less than a dozen practicing lawyers. 1895 A.B. Johnson became senior partner, with Alfred Stokes and Godfrey Master as supporting partners. Long association with HSBC.
James Russell – (1842-1893). Chief Justice of Hong Kong 1888-1892; acted as Attorney General of HK; Colonial Treasurer; Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of HK 1884, 1886, 1887. Described as “one of the most hard working officials that the Hong Kong Civil Service has ever possessed, and with his industry were united great natural shrewdness and common sense (Wikipedia).
H. G. Dowles- Clerk with Butterfield & Swire, Kings Rd., division of Swire & Son, England.
IDs in the album as “Dowler”.
Sir Henry Edward Pollock (1864-1953)- 9th Attorney General Fiji, seven times acting Attorney General HK, one of the founders of the University of Hong Kong. IDs in the album as H.E.P. and Pollock and once as "Briefless".
John Hastings- Founder of law firm Hastings & Co. In 1887, joined Wotton & Deacon, became senior partner, renamed Deacon & Hastings in 1897. By Jan 1907, partnership became Hastings & Hastings. 1904 – one of seven founding members of the Legal Society of Hong Kong. IDs in album as Hastings & J. Hastings.
Charles David Wilkinson (1861-1942)- Noted for his writings on ship navigation and “Law of Trademarks in Hong Kong”. Also one of the founders of the Law Society of HK. IDs in album as “C.D.”
Harry Mason Hillier – (1851-1924) - pictured in Drummond family photos, with his wife Maggie Drummond Hillier.
J.H. Gedge, appears in the 1880s ;90s Hong directories as a clerk in Johnson, Stokes & Master.
*Hillier Andrew & Christopher Munn, China's able advocate: The controversial career of William Venn Drummond, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Branch, Vol. 71, Oct 2021, -149. Very good condition. Item #26959