The People of Gibraltar

1903 - Sarah Angelina Acland - The Garden of the Mount

William Willoughby Cole Verner and Admiral William Alison Dyke Acland 
Sir George Stuart White and his daughter Georgina Mary
Conda the Moor and his brother Mustapha



In the garden of the Mount     
( May 1903 - Sarah Angelina Acland - Courtesy of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford - Colour composite by Giles Hudson )

Not exactly a portrait of Whistler's father relaxing after a strenuous butterfly hunt, and certainly not one to set your pulse racing. And yet . . . this photograph does have a connection with Gibraltar - in fact I would say it has more than five.

The subject of the photo is Colonel William Willoughby Cole Verner who happened to be stationed in Gibraltar in the late 19th and early 20th century with the 27th Rifle Brigade. Not content with being an author, historian, inventor and an expert ornithologist, he also enjoyed caving and potholing and is accredited - together with L'Abbe Breul - with the discovery of the Devil's Tower cave in Gibraltar. ( see LINK

The photograph itself was taken in the gardens of Mount Pleasant which was commonly known as the Mount - and as identified on the caption. The place was the official residence of the Superintendent of the Gibraltar Dockyard. From 1902 to 1904, the resident was Admiral William Alison Dyke Acland. Prior to his appointment he had once served as naval ADC to Queen Victoria. More to the point, he also happened to be the brother of the person who took Cole Verner's photograph - Sarah Angelina Acland


'The Admiral' - William Alison Dyke Acland, in the garden of the Mount   
( May 1903 - Sarah Angelina Acland - Courtesy of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford - Colour composite by Giles Hudson )

Sarah visited the Rock  twice during the very early days of the 20th century and her brother's position as admiral gave her the kind of access to the upper echelons of the British administration that would otherwise have remained shut - including that of the Governor of Gibraltar at the time - George Stuart White.



Sir George Stuart White in the garden of the 'Convent'    
( April or May 1903 - Sarah Angelina Acland - Courtesy of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford  - Colour composite by Giles Hudson )
 

Sir George Stuart White and his daughter ‘Georgie’ - Georgina Mary White - in the garden of the 'Convent'. The photographer's caption included the words 'Georgina moved'     
( April or May 1903 - Sarah Angelina Acland - Courtesy of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford - Colour composite by Giles Hudson )

This is not the place for a full blown biography of Sarah Acland.  Suffice to say that when she took up photography in  1891 she specialised in portraiture and that in 1894 she joined the recently opened Oxford Camera Club and soon became one of its leading lights. In 1900 she made an important decision. She abandoned black and white photography and devoted herself to colour using the Sanger Shepherd process. This was several years before the Lumi√®re brothers patented their Autochrome system.
 

Collage of two self portraits   
( 1912 - Sarah Angelina Acland - Courtesy of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford - Colour composite by Giles Hudson )

During her stay in  Gibraltar, Sarah Acland seems to have taken great delight in trying to capture on film the riot of colour that were the gardens of the Mount in late Spring. It was after all, reputed to have been - at the time - one of the most attractive of all the official places of residence on the Rock. 


Mount Pleasant   ( Early 19th century - Unknown - The National Archives )


'Drive of the Mount'  
( May 1903 or May 1904 - Sarah Angeline Acland - Courtesy  of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford - Colour composite by Giles Hudson )


'Honeysuckle'     
( May 1903 or May 1904 - Sarah Angeline Acland - Courtesy  of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford - Colour composite by Giles Hudson )


'Trellis'    
( May 1903 or May 1904 - Sarah Angeline Acland - Courtesy  of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford - Colour composite by Giles Hudson )


' The Mount Gardens'  
( May 1903 or May 1904 - Sarah Angeline Acland - Courtesy  of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford - Colour composite by Giles Hudson )


'Best of Upper Walk'    
( May 1903 or May 1904 - Sarah Angeline Acland - Courtesy  of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford - Colour composite by Giles Hudson )


'Terrace'   
( May 1903 or May 1904 - Sarah Angeline Acland - Courtesy  of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford - Colour composite by Giles Hudson )


'Agave'   
( May 1903 or May 1904 - Sarah Angeline Acland - Courtesy  of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford - Colour composite by Giles Hudson )
  

'Begonia'     
( May 1903 or May 1904 - Sarah Angeline Acland - Courtesy  of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford - Colour composite by Giles Hudson )


'Cultivated Colours'   
( May 1903 or May 1904 - Sarah Angeline Acland - Courtesy  of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford - Colour composite by Giles Hudson )


'False Fressia'   
( May 1903 or May 1904 - Sarah Angeline Acland - Courtesy  of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford - Colour composite by Giles Hudson )


'The Admiral's Garden Gate'     
( May 1903 or May 1904 - Sarah Angeline Acland - Courtesy  of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford - Colour composite by Giles Hudson )


'Gazebo'    
( May 1903 or May 1904 - Sarah Angeline Acland - Courtesy  of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford - Colour composite by Giles Hudson )


'Geraniums'     
( May 1903 or May 1904 - Sarah Angeline Acland - Courtesy  of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford - Colour composite by Giles Hudson )


'A Handsome Pergola'   
( May 1903 or May 1904 - Sarah Angeline Acland - Courtesy  of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford - Colour composite by Giles Hudson )


'Seville Orange Tree'    
( May 1903 or May 1904 - Sarah Angeline Acland - Courtesy  of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford - Colour composite by Giles Hudson )


'A Border of White Lilies in the Gardens of the Mount'  
( May 1903 or May 1904 - Sarah Angeline Acland - Courtesy  of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford - Colour composite by Giles Hudson )


'Flora Calpensis'     
( May 1903 or May 1904 - Sarah Angeline Acland - Courtesy  of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford - Colour composite by Giles Hudson )


'Gates of the Mount'  ( May 1903 or May 1904 - Sarah Angeline Acland - Courtesy  of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford - Colour composite by Giles Hudson )


'From My Window, Gibraltar'  The  view is south by south-west presumably from one of the guest rooms of the Mount, dishcloths and bathroom sponges put out to dry.
 ( May 1903 or May 1904 - Sarah Angeline Acland - Courtesy  of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford - Colour composite by Giles Hudson )


'Across the Bay'  The view is possibly from the dining room or one of the guest rooms. It looks west over the Bay of Gibraltar with the Spanish town of Algeciras in the distance. 
( May 1903 or May 1904 - Sarah Angeline Acland - Courtesy  of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford - Colour composite by Giles Hudson )


'Jebel Musa'    The photo was taken from the Mount  looking south by south-west towards Africa, with the Buena Vista Barracks top left
( May 1903 or May 1904 - Sarah Angeline Acland - Courtesy  of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford - Colour composite by Giles Hudson ) 


'Branch of Coral Tree'  
 ( May 1903 or May 1904 - Sarah Angeline Acland - Courtesy  of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford - Colour composite by Giles Hudson )


'View from the Dining Room'   
( May 1903 or May 1904 - Sarah Angeline Acland - Courtesy  of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford - Colour composite by Giles Hudson )


'The Wilderness'     
( May 1903 or May 1904 - Sarah Angeline Acland - Courtesy  of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford - Colour composite by Giles Hudson )


'Roses and Yellow-eyed daisies'    
( May 1903 or May 1904 - Sarah Angeline Acland - Courtesy  of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford - Colour composite by Giles Hudson )


'Prickly Pear'   
( May 1903 or May 1904 - Sarah Angeline Acland - Courtesy  of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford - Colour composite by Giles Hudson )


'Bermuda Lilies'    
( May 1903 or May 1904 - Sarah Angeline Acland - Courtesy  of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford - Colour composite by Giles Hudson )


'Bermuda Lilies'    
( May 1903 or May 1904 - Sarah Angeline Acland - Courtesy  of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford - Colour composite by Giles Hudson )


'Heliotrope'   
( May 1903 or May 1904 - Sarah Angeline Acland - Courtesy  of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford - Colour composite by Giles Hudson )


'Flowering Bank'    
( May 1903 or May 1904 - Sarah Angeline Acland - Courtesy  of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford - Colour composite by Giles Hudson )


'Aloes'     
( May 1903 or May 1904 - Sarah Angeline Acland - Courtesy  of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford - Colour composite by Giles Hudson )


'Plumbago in Vase'     
( May 1903 or May 1904 - Sarah Angeline Acland - Courtesy  of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford - Colour composite by Giles Hudson )


'Aloes'     
( May 1903 or May 1904 - Sarah Angeline Acland - Courtesy  of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford - Colour composite by Giles Hudson )


'The Gardens of the Mount looking North'  
( May 1903 or May 1904 - Sarah Angeline Acland - Courtesy  of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford - Colour composite by Giles Hudson )


'Terraces in the Mount Gardens'   
( May 1903 or May 1904 - Sarah Angeline Acland - Courtesy  of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford - Colour composite by Giles Hudson )


'Study of Bougainvillea'    
 ( May 1903 or May 1904 - Sarah Angeline Acland - Courtesy  of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford - Colour composite by Giles Hudson )


'Solomon’s Gardens of Old' - Looking north one of the  terraces in the gardens of the Mount. The steps lead  to the Upper Wall     
( May 1903 or May 1904 - Sarah Angeline Acland - Courtesy  of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford - Colour composite by Giles Hudson )


'Fuchsias'    
( May 1903 or May 1904 - Sarah Angeline Acland - Courtesy  of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford - Colour composite by Giles Hudson )


'Night-blooming Jasmine'  
( May 1903 or May 1904 - Sarah Angeline Acland - Courtesy  of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford - Colour composite by Giles Hudson )


'Nerium Oleander'     
( May 1903 or May 1904 - Sarah Angeline Acland - Courtesy  of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford - Colour composite by Giles Hudson ) 

Sarah Acland also found time to photograph somebody who she calls 'Conda the Moor' as well as his young  brother Mustapha  - both of them posing in different guises inside the gardens of the Mount.  What these two were doing in the Mount is hard to make out. 

The appearance of a Moorish servant  - or indeed that anybody of Moorish origin should have been associated with the Mount in any way - is unusual. The 1901 Gibraltar census shows a total population of well over 20355 souls of which men  of Moorish origin would have been included under the heading of  'Foreign Subjects of other countries'. They were only 38 of these in Gibraltar at the time, the majority, originally from the Barbary coast 


'Conda the Moor'   
( May 1903 - Sarah Angeline Acland - Courtesy  of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford - Colour composite by Giles Hudson )


'Conda'    
( May 1903 - Sarah Angeline Acland - Courtesy  of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford - Colour composite by Giles Hudson )


'Conda, Turban and White'     
( May 1903 - Sarah Angeline Acland - Courtesy  of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford - Colour composite by Giles Hudson )


'Mustapha'   
( May 1903 - Sarah Angeline Acland - Courtesy  of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford - Colour composite by Giles Hudson )


'Mustapha, dressed as a girl, sitting on steps in the garden of the Mount'     
( May 1903 - Sarah Angeline Acland - Courtesy  of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford - Colour composite by Giles Hudson ) 

Sarah also photographed two basket-selling individuals - presumably loitering with intent near the Mount - which she identifies as Spanish Gypsies sitting on horse mounting blocks outside the Mount. It is far more likely that they were simply Spanish market traders from the Campo area.




'Spanish Gypsies'   
( May 1903 - Sarah Angeline Acland - Courtesy  of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford - Colour composite by Giles Hudson )

On April 8th 1903 Edward VII arrived in the in Royal Yacht Victoria and Albert. ( see LINK ) It was the first time a British Sovereign had ever visited the Rock. 


Royal coach at the ready outside Mount Pleasant. The King may have preferred its superb location to that of the rather drabber Governor's residence at the Convent. Or perhaps he preferred the company of the Admiral - Sarah's brother - to that of the Governor, the rather dour George Stuart White. ( 1903 - Unknown photographer ) 

Sarah may have been living in the Mount at the time of the visit. She may even have met the King. Whether she did or not she did leave us with a photograph of dining room at the Mount as it was arranged for the visit.


'Dining Room at the Mount'   
( May 1903 - Sarah Angeline Acland - Courtesy  of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford - Colour composite by Giles Hudson )
 

‘King’s Case' - Silk handkerchief and embroidered case containing a letter from the Sultan of Morocco presented to Edward VII 
( May 1903 - Sarah Angeline Acland - Courtesy  of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford - Colour composite by Giles Hudson )

Unfortunately, and for unknown reasons, Sarah only took a couple of general photographs of the Gibraltar, both of them rather unoriginal shots of the southern area of the Rock.


'The Home of the Osprey' - View north from the Europa Advance gun with  the coast of Andalusia in the distance    
( May 1903 - Sarah Angeline Acland - Courtesy  of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford - Colour composite by Giles Hudson ) 

There was indeed an osprey's nest somewhere on the south western cliffs of the Rock. In his book - My Life among the Wild Birds of Spain - Colonel Willoughby Verner rather guiltily admits to having stolen an egg from a nest at the back of the Rock - this 'in defiance of all Garrison Orders prohibiting the molestation of wild birds'. As Willoughby seems to have been a frequent visitor to the Mount - hence Sarah's photograph of him as shown at the start of this article - it is quite possible that she heard the story from him.  ( see LINK )


'Europa Point' -The photo was taken from  Europa Advance looking south towards the Governor’s Cottage, the Lighthouse and Europa Point. Jebel Musa and the coast of Morocco can be seen in the distance   
( May 1903 - Sarah Angeline Acland - Courtesy  of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford - Colour composite by Giles Hudson )
 
All in all Sarah Acland's work suggests a possible series of firsts as regards Gibraltar - hers are probably the very first colour photos ever taken on the Rock and that of her brother may perhaps also have been one of the first colour photographic portraits of an admiral of the Royal Navy. The possibility of both of these being true increases exponentially when one attaches to each the words 'taken by a woman'.

As Giles Hudson comments in the news release on his book - Sarah Angelina Acland re-discovered as one of the Pioneers of Colour Photography - the "startling quality of her achievements before 1907 requires conventional assumptions about the history of colour photography to be reassessed."

That her work in Gibraltar forms part of this reassessment is a bonus as it could easily be argued that it was mostly by virtue of the photographs she took during her two visits to the Rock in 1903 and 1904 that she is now recognised as the person most responsible for allowing colour photography to become accessible to the travelling amateur.

Finally I must give credit once again to Giles Hudson. The originals are with the Museum of the History of Science in Oxford and are not readily available. But If you want to view some of those photographs taken by Sarah that are not of Gibraltar or whether you simply want to know more about this impressive lady - buy his book.