Singhalese man with snake, c. 1880 (printed c. 1892)
Charles T. Scowen of Ceylon
An unmounted albumen print portrait of a Singhalese man holding a large snake.
Photographed by Charles T. Scowen.
Born in London’s Islington in 1852, Charles Thomas Scowen operated a prolific and successful studio in Ceylon [modern day Sri Lanka] from 1871 to 1890, with premises in both Kandy and Colombo. His work is noted for its strong sense of composition. He eventually became a tea planter but retired and returned to England around the turn of the century. At the time of the 1911 census he was living at Bures St Mary in Suffolk with his wife Ann Eliza Scowen. He died there, aged 96, on 24 November 1948 leaving an estate valued at £8855.
The print carries the blindstamp of The Colombo Apothecaries Company, a large general store established in 1883; it sold most commodities, including photographs. In the early 1890s it acquired the stock and negatives of Charles T. Scowen and Co.
Condition: the print presents a slight loss of tone towards its lower left-hand corner but is otherwise in very good condition. It has been neatly skimmed off a secondary support.
Dimensions: the print measures 9” by 8.5” (22.8 cm by 21.5 cm).