John Claude White

Political Officer for Sikkim / Photographer

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Parts of this entry taken from Dr Jane Moore's unpublished PhD thesis, Colonial Collecting: A Study of the Tibetan Collections at Liverpool Museum - Cultural Encounters, Patterns of Acquisition and the Ideology of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
  • Gender
    Male
  • Relationship
  • Nationality
    British
  • Born
    1 October 1853
  • Place of birth
    Asia: Southern Asia: India: West Bengal: Kolkata [Calcutta]
  • Died
    1919
  • Place of death
    Unknown or unrecorded
  • Cause of death
    Unknown or unrecorded
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