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Royal Commonwealth Society : Views in Ceylon [i.e. Sri Lanka], 1890s


Royal Commonwealth Society

<p style='text-align: justify;'>A collection of loose albumen prints, the majority measuring approximately 260 x 205 mm, some captioned on the reverse. Titles composed for this catalogue are enclosed in square brackets. The collection shows scenes mainly in Colombo and Trincomalee. Photographs by A.W.A. Plâté and Co., William Louis Henry Skeen and Co., Aldolphus William Andree and the Colombo Apothecaries Company.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'> A.W.A. Plâté and Co.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Founded in 1890 by A.W.A. Plâté and his wife Clara in a studio in the Bristol Hotel, Colombo, the business moved to larger premises in Colpetty in 1892. In the following year a studio was also opened at Nuwera Eliya and a bookstall in the Queen's Hotel, Kandy. The firm became a private limited company in 1900 and was enlarged to include the sale of postcards, photographic equipment, apparatus and materials. On the demise of the firm of Skeen and Co. the stock of that business was possibly incorporated into Plâté's concern. It has not been determined when Plâté and Co. ceased trading, but the firm was certainly still in business in the late 1960s.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'> W.L.H. Skeen and Co.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>For a history of the firm see Y303E.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'> Adolphus William Andrée.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The photographic firm of A.W. Andrée was founded in the mid-1860s by A.W. Andrée Senior who left government service in the Telegraph Department to start the business at 32 Pedlar Street, Colombo. His son Adolphus William Andrée (b. 1869) joined a ferrotype studio in Chatham Street, Colombo in 1887 and later set up a photographic studio at his house in Norris Road; he was also employed during this period by the Colombo branch of the National Bank of India. After his marriage in 1893 he started afresh as a photographer in Union Place, Colombo, with his brother Bertie as chief assistant. This later became the Hopetoun Studio. The firm was no longer trading by 1919, although Bertie Andrée was still in the photographic business working as an assistant with Plâté and Co.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'> Colombo Apothecaries Company</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>A mercantile concern founded in 1883 by W.M. Smith and James Smith Finlay, the company expanded its interests to include photography in around 1890. A Kandy branch was opened in the early 1890s and the firm probably took over the stock of Charles T. Scowen and Co. when that firm closed down in the mid-1890s.</p>

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