ELGIN & KIBNCARDINE. The 9th Earl when Viceroy of India, 1890s


A charming and most unusually informal image of the Viceroy with his Jack Russell on the saddle of a pony. The 6½ x 4½ ins cabinet card is by G W Laurie & Co, Lucknow and Naini Tal and was probably taken in Simla. Victor Alexandra Bruce, 9th Earl of Elgin and Kincardine and served as Viceroy from 1894 before handing over to Lord Curzon. His father had also been Viceroy just after the Mutiny but sadly died in office. The uniformed syce [Indian groom] stands patiently alongside with eyes averted from the camera, possibly a little baffled by the Viceroy’s whimsical behaviour. Unlike his successor Lord Elgin was a rather private person who disliked wearing uniform and too much pomp. The Jack Russell seems to have been very much the dog of choice in India: the tough little dogs appear in many portraits, especially of military men and often in otherwise quite formal group portraits. jun16/1

Prvenance: This card came to us in a large archive of material from the Macdonalds of Sandside one of whom married a relation of the Earl. We have on authority from one of his direct descendants that he particularly disliked the pomp and ceremony side of being Viceroy of India and very few photographs of him appear in ceremonial dress.

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