Lot 4
  • 4

[Afghanistan] — Lieut. J. F. Irwin, and Lieut. C. Pulley

4,000 - 6,000 USD
5,000 USD
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  • An album of 44 original watercolors and pen and ink drawings, including a fine panorama. Afghanistan: ca. 1879-1880
  • Paper, ink, leather
Folio (12 3/5 x 10 1/8 in.; 315 x 255 mm). 43 original watercolors and pen and ink drawings (from 3 3/4 x 3 3/5 in.; 95 x 86 mm to 10 1/2 x 8 1/4 in.; 266 x 210 mm), including 1 split panorama, by J. F. Irwin, mounted on heavy album leaves with ink and pencil captions, many initialled "J.F.I.", 1 album leaf of pen and ink caricatures by C. Pulley; one watercolor with closed tear to edge of image ("Kandahar. Afghanistan. interior of City.", spotting primarily to album leaves, though affecting a few images. Blue cloth over boards, upper cover decoratively stamped in gilt and red, lower cover stamped in blind; rebacked to style, some fraying to edges, corners bumped with some loss.


Belknap, 'From a Photograph: Authenticity, Science and the Periodical Press, 1870-1890' 45

Catalogue Note

Watercolors of the second Afghan war

The visualization of war was a popular theme in the newspapers of 1870s Britain. 'The Graphic' was one such periodical, which emphasized the presence of sketch and photographic images.  During the Second Afghan War of 1878-1879, 'The Graphic'  featured sketches and accompanying text by Lieut. J. F. Irwin (59th Regiment, from RMC Sandhurst 1866). Irwin's work supplied a stylized conception of "the British army overcoming the Afghan 'hordes' against the odds" (Belknap). An earlier volume of Irwin's sketches forms a part of the collection of the National Army Museum, London.

Rather than the more dramatic images in 'The Graphic', those comprising the collection held at he National Army Museum and in this album, represent much more peaceful scenes, and often depict the beauty of the landscape, and the dress and customs of the Afghan people.  Lieut. C. Pulley, of the 3rd Goorkhas also served in the Second Afghan War, and provided material for the 'Illustrated London News' and other contemporary periodicals.