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S. J. Vernoit

(Christopher Molesworth)

(b Belgaum, India, Dec 8, 1832; d Ealing, England, June 28, 1917).

English historian of Indian art and culture. After growing up in India, he was sent to Britain at the age of seven to be educated, first in Plymouth, then at the Dollar Academy, Dollar, after which he studied medicine at Edinburgh University. In 1854 he joined the medical staff of the East India Company in Bombay and later held professorships of anatomy and physiology, and of botany and materia medica at the Grand Medical College there. His interest in Indian art developed when he became curator of the Government Central Museum in Bombay. He returned to Britain in 1868 suffering from ill-health and found employment as assistant to John Forbes Watson in arranging exhibits from India for the annual international exhibition held in London from 1871 to 1874. In 1874 he became curator at the India Museum in London. When its collections were transferred to the South Kensington Museum (now the V&A) in ...

Article

S. J. Vernoit

(b Kirkmahoe, Dumfriesshire [now Dumfries & Galloway], Aug 14, 1832; d Edinburgh, Oct 3, 1916).

Scottish art historian, active in India. He was educated in Dumfries, Glasgow and Edinburgh, and he went to India in 1855 as professor of mathematics at Doveton College, Calcutta. In 1861 he became head of the Sir Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy Parsee Benevolent Institution, Bombay, and here, in his spare time, he began his architectural and archaeological studies. In the years 1868 to 1873 he was secretary of the Bombay Geographical Society, and in 1872 he founded the journal Indian Antiquary, which he edited until 1884. He was appointed Archaeological Surveyor and Reporter to Government for Western India in 1874, and Southern India was added to his brief in 1881. As a result, over a period of 30 years he wrote a variety of important reports. He was promoted to Director-General of the Archaeological Survey of India in 1886 and took up residence in Calcutta. In this position he restructured archaeological enquiry in India and initiated the ...

Article

M. C. Subhadradis Diskul

[Prince Disvarakumarn]

(b Bangkok, June 21, 1862; d Bangkok, Dec 1, 1943).

Thai statesman, historian and educational administrator. The son of King Mongkut (Rama IV, reg 1851–68), he attained the rank of Major-General in the Military Operations Department before becoming (1890) Minister of Public Instruction, then (1892–1915) Minister of the Interior under his half-brother Chulalongkorn (Rama V, reg 1868–1910) and, later, Vajiravudh (Rama VI, reg 1910–25). In this capacity Prince Damrong restructured Thailand’s provincial administration, reorganized the civil service and harnessed the kingdom’s resources (notably provincial taxation, forests and mines) to the interests of the state. He was Chairman (1915–32) of the Capital (now National) Library and was appointed Founder-Chairman of the Royal Academy in 1926. The National Museum, Bangkok, came into being under his guidance. A member of the Supreme Council of State from 1926 until 1932, when Thailand changed from an absolute to a constitutional monarchy, he moved to Penang in 1933 but returned to Bangkok in ...

Article

(b Bar-sur-Aube, July 10, 1864; d Toulon, May 16, 1935).

French art historian and archaeologist. He became interested in the history of India and in Sanskrit literature while working at the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, and this led to his first publication, Lapidaires indiens. In 1898 he became Director of the new Mission Archéologique of Indochina in Saigon, later known as the Ecole Française d’Extrême-Orient. In the following years he travelled throughout Indochina, organizing an inventory of historical monuments, establishing a library and a museum for the archaeological mission at Saigon, which was later transferred to Hanoi, and creating the Bulletin de l’Ecole Française d’Extrême-Orient in 1901. In 1904 he was appointed to a chair of the Collège de France and to the Ecole de Paris. He resumed directorship of the Ecole Française d’Extrême-Orient in 1930 for 17 years, and his name was given to the school’s archaeological museum in Hanoi. His publications included important work on the epigraphy of Indochina....

Article

(b Lorient, Nov 21, 1865; d Paris, Oct 30, 1952).

French art historian and archaeologist. He qualified with an arts degree in 1888 and began postgraduate Sanskrit and Indian studies in 1891 at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Sorbonne University. His primary interest was in Buddhist legend and tradition, and the relationship between India and the Western Classical world. In 1895, after obtaining his doctorate and a lectureship at the university, he spent two years on a scientific mission in India, visiting museums and sites, taking photographs and collecting manuscripts, coins and sculpture. The information he gathered on the art and sites of Gandhara during this survey was presented as his doctorat ès lettres thesis in 1905.

In 1898 he helped to establish a permanent archaeological mission, the Ecole Française d’Extrême Orient. While stationed in Saigon as the mission’s director (1904–7), he organized an archaeological expedition to Java. In May 1907 he was given charge of Indian language and literature at the Sorbonne. Later in that year he was appointed assistant director, and in ...

Article

Philip Davies

(b Jan 14, 1841; d Weybridge, Dec 4, 1917).

English engineer, architect and writer, active in India. He was educated at Cheam and then at the East India Company Military College at Addiscombe where he was one of the last batch of graduates. He entered the Bombay Artillery in 1858, qualifying five years later as a surveyor and engineer. After initial service in the Public Works Department, and a brief spell with the Aden Field Force in 1865–6, he was appointed Chief Engineer to Jaipur state where he spent his entire working life.

An extremely prolific engineer and architect, he was responsible for a large number of important irrigation schemes but was also a pioneer and one of the most accomplished exponents of eclectic ‘Indo-Saracenic’ architecture. His Jeypore Portfolio of Architectural Details (1890), published for the Maharajah, is a vast, scholarly compendium of architectural details of north Indian buildings that became a recognized pattern book and standard reference work. His principal works include the Anglican church (...

Article

(b Paris, Jan 3, 1870; d Phnom Penh, Feb 22, 1949).

French architect, art historian and archaeologist. Born into a family of artists, he attended the Lycée de Reims, where he was taught drawing by his father, and in 1891 entered the architectural faculty of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. In 1896 he was employed by the Public Works Office in Tunis, where he learnt about archaeology and published a plan and reconstruction of a temple at nearby Carthage. In 1900 he joined the Mission Archéologique d’Indochine (later known as the Ecole Française d’Extrême-Orient) to document Siamese historical monuments. His early career was dominated by the discovery, exploration and study of the monuments of the Champa. During 1902–4 he excavated a Buddhist monastery at Dong Duong, a complex of temples at Mi Son and an important temple at Chanh Lo. When he returned on leave to Paris, he married the writer and poet Jeanne Leuba, who took an active part in his later fieldwork, often undertaken in hazardous circumstances at inaccessible sites. He was appointed head of the archaeological service of the Ecole Française d’Extrême-Orient in ...