Sketches taken during the Second Afghan War.

AFGHANISTAN ; IRWIN Lieut. John. Frederick.; PULLEY Lieut C. J. (1880.)



43 original watercolour and pen and ink drawings, including one split panorama, by J.F. Irwin (many initialed "J.F.I.") mounted on heavy leaves  most with ink and pencil captions, 1 leaf of pen and ink caricatures by J.F. Pulley. 4to. Blue cloth over boards, upper cover decoratively stamped in gilt and red, lower cover stamped in blind, rebacked to style, some fraying to edges, corners bumped with some loss, one watercolour with closed tear to edge of image. Afghanistan, c.1879 -

A particularly fine group of watercolours by this talented artist. Irwin's work was well-regarded at the time and a number of his images were published in The Graphic and the Illustrated London News.


Fought between the British Raj and the Emir of Afghanistan, the Second Afghan War (1878-1880) took part within the framework of the Great Game between England and Russia, who both sought to dominate the region. Having graduated from Sandhurst in 1866, Irwin served with the 59th Regiment (2nd Nottinghamshire) and on 19 April 1880 saw action at the Battle of Ahmed Khel, fought on the road between Kandahar and Kabul. The 59th fought with distinction throughout the war, seeing action at Ali Masjib, Peiwar Kotal, Charasih, Kabul, Khandahar, and the Khyber Pass. On 24 October 1879, Captain Euston Henry Sartorius was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions at Shahjui.


This album of delicate images is representative of the entire deployment. It include views of Khandahar, the Khyber Pass, coastal views, the camp at Logar Valley, Fort Battye and Jellahabad. There is a lovely panorama: "General view Cabul from the Bermarin Heights" There are portraits of a native of Hazaka, Kashmir women, "Lalla" shikwell Bundipore." And the poignant image: "Sketch at position where our people made their last stand in the retreat from Cabul in 41. Taken on the march from Cabul Augt 16 1880. The cairn on the hill was put there by HS." Another important image is that of Bala Hissar (Kabul). The fortress there was damaged during the Second Anglo-Afghan War and this is a rare record of it prior.


More humorous images are included such as "a dust storm - the climax", "fording a river Cashmere - a narrow squeak ...", and "Band Practice" ... In this vein, there is a page of six pen and ink drawings contributed by Lieut C.J. Pulley, who also contributed to the Illustrated London News.


A volume of Irwin's images are held at the National Army Museum.








Stock Code: 229654

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