Tuesday, 2 September 2008

A.T.W. Penn : Pioneering Indian photographer

Just published:

In pursuit of the past: the discovery of the life and work of A.T.W. Penn, pioneering photographer of South India / Christopher Penn.

Christopher Penn was a speaker at SAALG's December 2005 conference at the Kashmir Bhawan Centre, Luton.


In November 2000 Christopher Penn discovered an old letter
crumpled up behind the top drawer of his late father’s writing
bureau. It led to the discovery of a family – his own – of which he
had been unaware and knowledge of his great-grandfather Albert
Thomas Watson Penn, who was one of the pioneering
photographers of South India. He left home in England before he
was twelve and had started work as a photographer in the hill
station of Ootacamund in the Nilgiri Hills by 1865, the year in
which he turned sixteen. His work is now held in all the major
collections of nineteenth century photography.

Research for the book made use of newspapers of the time, held on
microfilm in the British Library, church records and the
photographs taken by A.T.W. Penn to piece together the details of
his life and that of his family. The Public Records Office in Kew
provided vital information on the tragic life of the author’s
grandfather who, having won the Distinguished Conduct Medal for
valour at the battle of Omdurman, riding in the same squadron as
Lt. Winston Churchill, and won a fortune eleven years later in the
Calcutta Derby Sweepstake, died a pauper and in disgrace.

Profits from the sale of this book will go entirely to three charities
in South India in equal parts: The Nilgiri Documentation Centre
(an offshoot of the Save the Nilgiris Campaign), The Dohnavur
Foundation and The Edhkwehlynawd Botanical Refuge, which is
concerned with protection and preservation of the fauna and flora
of the Nilgiris and care for the Toda, an aboriginal tribe.

Price £14:50 plus £2:50 p&p (£7:50 p&p overseas), available from
the author and publisher: C.F.Penn, Pendle, Burdenshot Hill,
Worplesdon, Surrey, England GU3 3RL
Tel/Fax: 44 (0) 1483 235 609

1 comment:

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