Material (Re)collections of the ‘Shiny East’: A Late Nineteenth-Century Travel Account by a Young British Woman in India

Dohmen, Renate (2016). Material (Re)collections of the ‘Shiny East’: A Late Nineteenth-Century Travel Account by a Young British Woman in India. In: Henes, Mary and Murray, Brian H. eds. Travel Writing, Visual Culture and Form, 1760–1900. Palgrave Studies in Nineteenth-Century Writing and Culture. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 42–64.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137543394_3

Abstract

This essay examines the travelogue-cum-souvenir album of Millicent Pilkington, a well-to-do young British woman who travelled to British India in 1893 visiting friends and family for a year. The album unusually combines textual passages with the elaborate visual arrangements of water colour sketches, photographs and ephemera typical for nineteenth century women’s albums. The argument presented is that Pilkington creates a hybrid travelogue that straddles the worlds of tourism, travel writing, women artist travellers, the female memory culture of album making and the discourses of high imperialism and femininity in a unique and creative fashion. The essay examines her enthusiasm for sports and riding on horse back and the obligation she felt to sketch and produce a travel album in terms of her negotiation of femininity and empire, as the spaces of empire which allowed women greater freedom to engage in activities otherwise considered unacceptable and shockingly ‘new woman’.

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