Name: Bell, Charles Alfred
Date of birth: 1870-10-31
Date of death: 1945-03-08
Biography: Diplomat and Tibetologist
Description: Charles Alfred Bell was born in Calcutta, India, on 31 October 1870 to Henry and Anne Bell. As one of six children he would eventually follow in his father's footsteps and take up a post in the Indian Civil Service (ICS). Bell first studied at Winche... more
Name: White, John Claude
Date of birth: 1853-10-01
Date of death: 1919
Biography: Political Officer for Sikkim / Photographer
Description: British Political Officer in Sikkim 1889-1908; Joint Commissioner and official photographer to the Younghusband Expedition.
The White collection at Liverpool Museum is particularly revealing of White’s appreciation of the formal aesthetic and craftsmanship qualities of individual objects; in particular, the collection includes four pan boxes from Bhutan (56.27.230/231/232/234), which White prized for these very qualities, and a sword and sheath (56.27.4 – fig. 73) reflecting White’s interest in Bhutanese metalwork. There is also a statuette of Amitabha Buddha, reputed to have been given to White by the Panchen Lama (56.27.285 – fig. 74), and probably given during a visit of the Prince and Princess of Wales to Calcutta to which the Panchen Lama was invited. White organised this event. The documentation on the White collection is patchy, as the collection came to Liverpool from Norwich Castle Museum without much accompanying information. White is more celebrated for his photography than his collection of material culture. The White photographs in Liverpool Museum are, however, part of the Bell collection, while Bell ordered several whole albums via Johnston and Hoffman several individual images may have been bought directly from White.
Parts of this entry taken from Dr Jane Moore's unpublished PhD thesis, Colonial Collecting: A Study of the Tibetan Collections at Liverpool Museum - Cultural Encounters, Patterns of Acquisition and the Ideology of Display, University of Liverpool, p.184