Lord Mayo [Viceroy 1869 – 1872]. A rare and remakable souvenir of his assassination
A circular subscriber’s pass to the Italian Opera in Calcutta, printed on blue paper on one side: ITALIAN OPERA, SEASON 1871-2. BOX No 11 &12 and added in manuscript This the ……..Viceroy of India. The other side is printed SUBSCRIBERS and H.E. the Viceroy is added in in ink. The paper discs are glued to an ivory or bone disc 4cm in diameter [approx 1½ ins]. The disc is fastened to a piece of paper with a red wax seal and the paper reads Found on Lord Mayo’s person at the time of his assassination. Given to me by Col Napier Campbell, A de C to H. E. 26th May 1872. This is=s accompanied by the small envelope it which it has been kept. The writing on the envelope reads Memento of Lord Mayo – Viceroy of India. Together with a carte de visite portrait by John Watkins, Parliament St in a black and gilt contemporary mourning frame, 4¾ x3¾ ins. The Italian Opera was a highlight of the Calcutta Season and companies and singers travelling between Australia and Europe often stopped off at the Indian capital. It is not often one can be justified in calling something unique but this little souvenir merits the word.
Richard Southwell Burke, 6th Earl of Mayo [1822 -72] had the singular misfortune of being the one Viceroy to die at the hands of an assassin. He had been a very energetic ruler who travelled around India more than any of his predecessors had done and his economic and agricultural reforms left a lasting mark. His promising Viceroyalty was violently cut short when, after visiting the penal settlement on the Andaman Islands [prison reform was a particular interest of his] he was stabbed to death by an Afghan convict as he was boarding a boat at dusk on 8th February 1872. Colonel Napier George Campbell was serving in the Royal [formerly Madras] Artillery. may18/6
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