British photographic history

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Information request: Francis Frith Inventory Lists for Indonesia (Dutch East Indies)

I wonder if any of you are aware of the existence of Francis Frith inventory lists of photographs in their stock from Indonesia (the Dutch East Indies) from the second half of the19th century?  If so, where can they be found please?

There are several Indonesian views that have been attributed to Francis Frith (the photographs are probably by one of his photographers rather than by Frith himself) and I wonder how reliable those attributions are?  Also how many photographs of Indonesia did Frith publish?  I assume he must have published lists of his inventory?? 

My particular focus is 19th century photography in Indonesia.  My two books are: "BATAVIA in Nineteenth Century Photographs" (2000) and "Greetings from JAKARTA: Postcards of a Capital 1900-1950" (2012).

Thanking you in advance for any information you are able to provide.

Kind regards,

Scott Merrillees


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Comment by Scott Andrew MERRILLEES on May 30, 2013 at 11:28

Hi John, very kind of you thank you.  The V&A has three views of Batavia (now Jakarta, Indonesia's capital city) attributed to Francis Frith.  The link is:   I note that they have three consecutive inventory numbers: 1373, 1374 and 1375.  I wonder how many other Francis Frith photographs of Batavia might exist?  Or how many photographs of any part of Indonesia were part of Francis Frith's inventory?  Indonesia in the 19th century was of course known as the Dutch East Indies or the Netherlands East Indies.  I also assume that it was not Francis Frith himself who took these photographs.  Do you perhaps know who the photographer(s) might have been?  Further, how precise can we be regarding the dating of these photographs?  Thank you very much for your help.  Kind regards, Scott Merrillees

Comment by John Buck on May 28, 2013 at 18:25

HI Scott

We hold the Frith ledgers so if you like to send me more details we will see what information we can find.

Regards, John Buck, The Francis Frith Collection

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