Photographs of Ceylon 1850-1915: Collections in Sri Lanka

Benita Stambler, The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, Florida, USA,

My search for collections of photographs taken during the British colonial period in Ceylon is ongoing, but has been enhanced by my recent visit to Sri Lanka.  I wish to thank the readers of this blog who provided information about existing collections before my trip.  I appreciate all the suggestions I received, and am presently working to incorporate the photograph collections I examined in Sri Lanka into a comprehensive list documenting collections around the world.  The output of the individuals and commercial firms who captured the people and sights of Ceylon in such variety is truly impressive.

I have been home in the U.S. just a few weeks now, and I am still trying to make sense of all the information I gathered.  The publicizing of my efforts on this website []  provided some interesting recommendations.  I pursued all leads both before my trip, and while I was in Sri Lanka.  Though I was able to investigate some photograph collections, I’m sure there was much more I didn’t get a chance to see.

I have begun preparing my reports for the Ringling Museum (in Sarasota, Florida, where I work) and for the American Institute for Sri Lankan Studies (AISLS), the organization that sponsored this research.  So far both seem pleased by what I was able to accomplish during my brief trip to Sri Lanka.  I attribute my productivity to the assistance I received before and during my visit.  I am now working to prepare some materials for future study of Sri Lankan photographic history.

The report on photograph collections in Sri Lanka will be included in an online list, to be available in 2013, on the website of the American Institute for Sri Lankan Studies,  The Ringling Museum is just beginning an expanded emphasis on Asia and constructing a new wing to house its expanding collection, which will eventually include almost 300 photographs of Ceylon.  An article about my trip to Sri Lanka will be featured in the museum’s publication in February, 2013.  Though the article itself will be relatively brief, a photograph from Sri Lanka will be on the cover of the issue.  I’m looking forward to this public acknowledgement of the time everyone took from their busy schedules to communicate their ideas.

If there is more information available, please contact me at the above e-mail address and, again, thanks for all the assistance.


Filed under cultural transmission, heritage, historical interpretation, sri lankan society, unusual people, world affairs

4 responses to “Photographs of Ceylon 1850-1915: Collections in Sri Lanka

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