Burmese woman, 1852 (c)
Photograph by Surgeon John McCosh (1805-1885), 1852 (c).
This sensitive portrait of an unknown Burmese woman is a fine example of how John McCosh, a surgeon with the Bengal Army, fused artistic and anthropological interests in his portraiture. McCosh was keen to learn about the new peoples and societies that he came into contact with while on campaign. In this sense his photographic work fits into the wider pattern of the Victorian spirit of scientific endeavour, which encompassed a desire to understand the world through systematically exploring, recording and classifying it contents. Yet clearly McCosh also approaches his subjects with an artistic eye. He was keen to capture the essence and dignity of an individual and his work evinces close attention to posture and expression.
From an album of 310 photographs, 1848-1853.
NAM Accession Number
National Army Museum, Out of Copyright
National Army Museum, Study collection
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