Frederick Marshman Bailey

Diplomatic Officer, Spy and Donor to Tibet collections

FM 'Eric' Bailey accumulated his extensive collection throughout a long and eventful career in Tibet, beginning with his participation on the Younghusband Expedition (1903-04) as a young officer. However, it was in his later years (during his tenure as Political Officer Sikkim, Bhutan and Tibet) that he focused his collecting activities on the crafts and textile items that make up such a large part of the collection at Liverpool (objects such as a royal dancer’s headdress from Bhutan (66.3.17 – fig. 69), a temple hanging (53.87.103 – fig. 70) and a Bhutanese official’s hat (66.3.23) reveal these interests).
Bailey’s collection at Liverpool Museum presents an eclectic mix of textiles and domestic items, weaponry, and assorted religious items and other pieces. The greater part of the collection consists of craft items, particularly paper patterns for drawing designs acquired by the museum in the 1960s and 1970s from Bailey and his wife. But Bailey had links with the museum from the 1950s, when he opened the 1953 Exhibition of Tibetan objects that relaunched the museum after the Second World War, and for which he lent a number of objects. At the end of a long career in the region, including his well-publicised exploits as a spy, Bailey was by this stage something of a grandee of Anglo-Tibetan affairs; his opening of the exhibition emphasised the inclusion of objects collected by a number of other Younghusband Expedition veterans and offered by them or their families, including those of Younghusband himself, Waddell, General Campbell, and Heaney. Thereafter, the Baileys maintained a close association with Liverpool Museum that The Hon. Mrs Irma Bailey continued after her husband’s death in 1967.

Information taken from Dr Jane Moore, Colonial Collecting: A Study of the Tibetan Collections at Liverpool Museum -Cultural Encounters, Patterns of Acquisition and the Ideology of Display, unpublished PhD, University of Liverpool 2001.
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