View of Mandalay Palace - 2016.66.9_1


View of Mandalay Palace

Maker: Clement Williams (28 December 1833-26 June 1879)
Medium:albumen print
Geography: Mandalay, Myanmar (Burma)
Date: 1861-1863
8.2 × 8.5 cm
Object number: 2016.66.9
Credit Line: Gift of David Strachey
Not on view

This image is a view of Mandalay Palace (other names include Mya Nan San Kyaw, The Famed Royal Emerald Palace, or Great Golden Royal Palace). The palace was built by King Mindon between 1857 and 1859 as a part of the development of Mandalay as the new capital of Upper Burma. This photograph is an albumen contact print from a collodion glass plate negative. This image may be linked to N.11526.EVN at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Cambridge, England.

Dr. Clement Williams (28 December 1833 – 26 June 1879) arrived in Burma in 1858 as an assistant surgeon with the 68th Light Infantry. After mastering the Burmese language, he settled in Mandalay by mid-1861 and gained the confidence of King Mindon. In 1863, he was appointed Britain’s first political agent in Upper Burma. That same year he led an expedition up the Irrawaddy River to Bhamo, later publishing an account of his travels, Through Burma to Western China. After quitting the army in 1865, he worked briefly for the newly established Irrawaddy Flotilla Company before going into business for himself as a buying agent for the king. In 1879, en route between Burma to England, Williams died of typhoid outside Florence. Like many doctors familiar with working with chemicals. Clement Williams was an early amateur photographer, as recounted in his book. Until 2017, however, there were no images positively attributed to him. Thanks to gifts from his nephew, Louis Allan Goss (1846-1933), and Goss’s heirs, they now are in the collections of the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (MAA) in Cambridge, UK, and the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada.

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