Special Collections & University Archives University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries

Woodbury, Walter B. (Walter Bentley), 1834-1885

Walter B. Woodbury Photograph Collection, 1865-1866.
2 boxes (1.5 linear feet).
Call no.: PH 003

Tanah Abang House, ca.1866
Tanah Abang House, ca.1866

In the late 1850s and early 1860s, the pioneering British photographer Walter Woodbury captured images of Java, and especially its capital city Batavia (modern day Jakarta). Working in partnership with James Page, the two established a photographic firm that continued to produce and sell images long after Woodbury’s return to England in 1863.

Consisting of 42 albumen prints, the Woodbury Collection includes numerous images of the landscape and colonial buildings in Batavia, Buitenzorg (Bogor), and Surabaya. A few photographs capture images of the European community in Java, and local Javanese residents.

Background Note
Tanah Abang House, 1866

Tanah Abang House, 1866

Walter Bentley Woodbury was born in Manchester, England, in 1834 and was raised by his maternal grandfather. In 1857, still in his early twenties, Woodbury traveled to Java where he founded a busy photographic firm with James Page, and between them, they took the majority of the known photographs of Batavia (present day Jakarta) from the latter part of the 19th century. The two men, accompanied by Walter’s brother, Henry James Woodbury, traveled extensively through Central and Eastern Java in 1860, relatively soon after which the photographers went their separate ways. Woodbury remained in Batavia.

In 1863, Woodbury and Page offered a list of sixteen topographical photographs of the city for sale in albumen format. These images are considered the first of their sort from Batavia, which was originally established in 1619 as a colonial supply station for the VOC (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie), or the Dutch East Indies Trading Company. Prospering during the 17th and 18th centuries as part of the spice trade, Batavia was a regional center for commerce and colonial administration, but particularly after a wall was erected around the city for security, it gained a reputation as “the Graveyard of Europeans,” due to the poor sanitation and the stagnation of the canal system.

Although Woodbury worked initially with the wet-plate collodion negatives and albumen positive prints, he was an avid experimenter in photography, trying his hand at photoceramics, stereoscopic photography, stereoscopic projection, balloon photography, and electromagnetic shutters. He is perhaps most widely known for the photomechanical process he developed in 1866, the Woodburytype. Woodbury died in England in 1885.

Scope and contents of the collection

The Woodbury Collection consists of 42 medium-format albumen topographical photographs of Java produced by the firm of Woodbury and Page during the 1860s. The majority of photographs were taken in Batavia (modern day Jakarta), with a few from Surabaya and Buitenzorg (modern day Bogor). While Woodbury focused primarily on landscape, several photographs — particularly those from Batavia — depict members of the European community, their homes, clubs, and meeting places. Among the sites represented in the collection are the Harmonie Club House, Monlenvliet canal, Michiels Monument, Welsevreden Palace, Willems Church, the residence of Martinus Petrus Pels, and the Governor’s palace at Buitzenborg. Photographs of the Tanah Abang house are annotated as “our” house by a person with the initials S.H.W., and who also locates the house in relation to other landmarks and homes in the area.

The photographs are arranged in alphabetical order by title, as supplied by S.H.W. or (perhaps) the photographer.


Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

The collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation

Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:

Walter B. Woodbury Photograph Collection (PH 3). Special Collections and University Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst.

History of the Collection
Custodial history:

The Du Bois Library holds a copy of John Thomson’s The Straits of Malacca, Indo-China, and China (Call no. DS507 .T49 1875a) inscribed to a Frank L. Wilson “with love from S.H.C.” The handwriting in this volume seems to match that on the images, although the initials change to S.H.W., perhaps as the result of a marriage.

This collection was originally housed with the John Thomson Photograph Collection (PH 2) and the Felice Beato Photograph Collection (PH 4), which may indicate that the prints were all acquired together by S.H.W. and family while living in Indonesia.

Processing Information

Collection was processed by Meghan Fahey, May 2007.


Additional Information

Language
English.


Contents List
Back View of Gov. Genl’s. Palace at Buitenzorg, Java
ca.1865
21 x 27.5 cm.
Box 1:1
Back View of Gov. Genl's. Palace at Buitenzorg
Batavia Cemetery, Java
ca.1865
30 x 39 cm.
Box 1:1
Batavia Cemetery, Java

View of European cemetery located in Tanah Abang from inside cemetery fence. Fresh graves in fore. The cemetery was established in 1795 to provide a burial ground for Christians.

Catholic School, Singapore
ca.1865
31 x 36 cm.
Box 2:4
Catholic School, Singapore
Chinaman’s House at Batavia, Java [on Molenvliet]
ca.1865
30 x 39 cm.
Box 2:5
Chinaman's House at Batavia, Java

Tile roof house with adornment along roof peaks. Exterior of front porch adorned with hanging prints, statues, and sculptural elements. Four people sitting on porch. Believed to have belonged to the Khouw family who were local Chinese landowners. Possibly home of Khouw Kim An chairman of Batavian Chinese Council.

Entrance to town of Batavia
ca.1865
30 x 39 cm.
Box 1:3
Entrance to town of Batavia

View of arched gate down road lined with trees. Structure originally marked the south entrance to Batavia’s old castle built in the 17th century.

Front View of House at Tanah Abang. Breakfast Table of the Period!
1866
31 x 41 cm.
Box 1:3
House, Tanah Abang
Garden Scene at Kedring Badak
ca.1865
30 x 39 cm.
Box 1:4
Garden Scene at Kedring Badak
Hamlet’s Ghost, Sourabaya [Surabaya], Java [Boat with Passengers and Crew]
ca.1865
30 x 39 cm.
Box 1:4
Hamlet's Ghost
Harmonie Club House, Batavia
ca.1865
30 x 39 cm.
Box 1:5
Harmonie Club House

View of corner of clubhouse. Social club for European community. This structure was built in 1815.

Horse R.R. Station, Batavia, Java
ca.1865
32 x 40 cm.
Box 1:5
Horse Railroad Station
Hotel Sumatra
ca.1865
24 x 32 cm.
Box 1:6
Hotel Sumatra

Annotation on image: “Hotel ‘Sumatra’ at Padang. I lived in the front room at right of picture about 1 year.”

House of a Batavia Merchant
ca.1865
32 x 41.5 cm.
Box 1:6
Merchant's House in Batavia
House of Batavia Merchant
ca.1865
32 x 41.5 cm.
Box 1:7
Merchant's House, Batavia
House of M. P. Pels, Esq., Kings Plain, Batavia, 1866
1866
35 x 40.5 cm.
Box 1:7
Pels House

This image is believed to have been commissioned by Mr. Pels. It appears in a Woodbury & Page album along with nine other photographs but is not recorded as an available print for sale in the Woodbury & Page inventory.

House of Prince Radheu Saleh, Batavia
ca.1865
24 x 32 cm.
Box 1:8
Radheu Saleh House

View of residence from front. House is heavily adorned with statues, urns, and stained glass windows. Manicured lawn and developing gardens visible in foreground. This structure was originally built in 1852.

House of the Pels Family Next to Ours at Tanahabay
ca.1865
32 x 41 cm.
Box 1:8
Pels House

View of house from across the road. Four figures stand looking at camera in front of gate. Martinus Petrus Pels served as the honorary vice-counsel for the United States in Batavia. He likely made his living working for a trading firm and in 1866 served as a member of the Batavian Chamber of Commerce.

Kedirie [Kediri] River, Java
ca.1865
30 x 39 cm.
Box 1:9
Kediri River
Michiels Monument, Waterloo Plain, Erected in Memory of Genl. Michiels & the Troops Killed During the Three Expeditions toi Bali in 1848
ca.1865
30 x 39 cm.
Box 1:9
Michiels Monument

View of Monument with Roman Catholic Church in right of image. Monument was erected to honor the memory of Major General Andreas Michiel.

Mr. and Mrs. Volz, Kings Plain, Batavia
ca.1865
24 x 32 cm.
Box 1:9
Volz Residence, Kings Plain, Batavia
Natives Making Sarongs and Saraps
ca.1865
24 x 32 cm.
Box 1:10
Natives
Padang [Port from water]
ca.1865
22 x 28 cm.
Box 1:10
Padang
Palace at Buitenzorg, Java
ca.1865
30 x 39 cm.
Box 1:11
Palace at Buitzenborg
Palace at Weltevreden, Batavia, Java
ca.1865
30 x 39 cm.
Box 1:11
Palace at Weltevreden

Large private estate, home to numerous governor generals.

Pasangrahan Resting Place for Travelers at Nnangteng, Java
ca.1865
30 x 39 cm.
Box 2:1
Pasangrahan
Private House at Sourabaya [Surabaya], Java
ca.1865
30 x 39 cm.
Box 2:1
Private Residence
River at Tanah Abang from Bridge in Front of Our House
ca.1865
22 x 28 cm.
Box 2:2
River at Tanah Abang
River scene at Buitenzorg, Java
ca.1865
30 x 39 cm.
Box 2:2
River scene at Buitenzorg
River Scene in Sourabaya [Surabaya], Java
ca.1865
23.5 x 31 cm.
Box 2:3
River scene in Surabaya
Road to Town, Batavia (Jangkeh)
ca.1865
30 x 39 cm.
Box 2:3
Road to town, Batavia
Ryswyk Portion Harmonie, Batavia, Java
ca.1865
30 x 39 cm.
Box 2:4
Harmonie Club, Rijswijk Portion

View from Rijswijk side.

Salak Mountain River, Buitenzorg, Java
ca.1865
32 x 41.5 cm.
Box 2:4
Salak Mountain River, Buitenzorg, Java
Stadhuis [Town Hall] Batavia, Java
ca.1865
30 x 39 cm.
Box 2:5
Stadhuis
Stream with Bamboo Banks at Sourabaya [Surabaya], Java
ca.1865
30 x 39 cm.
Box 2:5
Stream with Bamboo Banks, Surabaya
Tanabang Road, Batavia
ca.1865
32 x 37 cm.
Box 2:6
Tanabang Road
Temple of Tego Wangie at Kedirie [Kediri]
ca.1865
30 x 39 cm.
Box 2:6
Temple of Tego Wangie
Turn Verein, Batavia
ca.1865
35 x 41 cm.
Box 2:7
Turn Verein, Batavia
View at Buitenzorg, near Batavia
ca.1865
32 x 41.5 cm.
Box 2:7
View at Buitenzorg, near Batavia
View at Tanah Abang, Batavia
ca.1865
32.5 x 41.5 cm.
Box 2:8
View at Tanah Abang

Annotation on image: “The two white pillars at the left represent entrance to house where Mr. Fay [Jay] lived in Batavia, S.H.W.” on verso “View at Tanah Abang, Batavia N.B. Our House is just at the right after bridge in the background.”

View at Tanah Abang, Batavia, Looking Down the River
1866
31 x 41 cm.
Box 2:8
View at Tanah Abang
View from Front Veranda, House at Tanah Abang
ca.1865
31 x 41 cm.
Box 2:9
House, Tanah Abang
Waterloo Plain — Sunrise, Batavia, Java
ca.1865
30 x 39 cm.
Box 2:9
Waterloo Plain

View of the military square at sunrise. The Waterloo monument is visible in front of Daendal’s palace. The monument was originally erected in 1828 to commemorate the defeat of Napoleon at the battle of Waterloo.

Willems Church (Dutch Reformed), Batavia, Java
ca.1865
30 x 39 cm.
Box 2:10
Willems Church
Subjects
  • Bogor (Indonesia)--Photographs
  • Indonesia--Photographs
  • Jakarta (Indonesia)--Photographs
  • Java (Indonesia)--Photographs
  • Surabaya (Indonesia)--Photographs
Contributors
  • Woodbury & Page
  • Woodbury, Walter B. (Walter Bentley), 1834-1885
Types of material
  • Albumen prints
  • Photograps
Leave a Comment

 
Special Collections and University Archives logo