Landing at Mandalay of HE the Viceroy and Governor-General of India and Lady Dufferin, on the afternoon of 12th February, 1886
Photographer: Hooper, Willoughby Wallace (1837-1912)
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the arrival by river at Mandalay in Burma (Myanmar) of Lord Dufferin, Viceroy of India, and Lady Dufferin on 12 February 1886, taken by Willoughby Wallace Hooper. The photograph is from a series documenting the Third Anglo-Burmese War (1885-86), published in 1887 as ‘Burmah: a series of one hundred photographs illustrating incidents connected with the British Expeditionary Force to that country, from the embarkation at Madras, 1st Nov, 1885, to the capture of King Theebaw, with many views of Mandalay and surrounding country, native life and industries’. Two editions were issued, one with albumen prints, one with autotypes, along with a set of lantern slides. Hooper made the series while serving as Provost Marshal with the British Expeditionary Force, which entered Mandalay, the Burmese royal capital, on 28 November 1885. The war culminated in the annexation of Upper Burma by the British on 1 January 1886 and the exile of King Thibaw (reigned 1878-1885) and Queen Supayalat to India. Frederick Temple Hamilton Temple Blackwood, 1st Marquis of Dufferin and Alva (1826-1902), was Viceroy of India between 1884 and 1888. The view shows his arrival by boat at Mandalay and the official welcome party on the river bank, including a ceremonial pavilion. A caption by Hooper accompanies the photograph: "The picture, an instantaneous one, was taken at the moment the first gun of the salute was fired from the end of the Bund, amongst the trees. The white building is the 'Pandal', erected for their reception, in which His Excellency was presented with addresses." Hooper was a dedicated amateur photographer and his photographs of the war in Burma are considered “one of the most accomplished and comprehensive records of a nineteenth century military campaign”. The series is also notable for the political scandal which arose following allegations by a journalist that Hooper had acted sadistically in the process of photographing the execution by firing squad of Burmese rebels. The subsequent court of inquiry concluded that he had behaved in a “callous and indecorous” way and the affair raised issues of the ethical role of the photographer in documenting human suffering and the conduct of the British military during a colonial war.