Sir Basil Gould

No scan for this photo

1998.131.388.2 (Print black & white)

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(Print black & white)

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Key Information


Frederick Spencer Chapman


Frederick Spencer Chapman

Date of Photo

December 10th 1936?

Named Person

Sir Basil Gould


Lhasa > Dekyi Lingka

Accession number


Image Dimensions

161 x 107 162 x 107 161 x 108

Sir Basil J. Gould in official uniform. A head and shoulders profile portrait. This photograph was probably taken on the occasion of an official visit to Kundeling Monastery to see the 'Disease Chasing Ceremony'

Further Information

Photographic Process

Print gelatin silver

Date Acquired

Donated 1994

Donated by

Faith Spencer Chapman


British Diplomatic Mission to Lhasa 1936-37

Photo also owned by

Frederick Spencer Chapman

Previous Catologue Number

BH.7 In publication
'Lhasa Mission 1936, Diary of Events', P. Neame, H. Richardson, F. S. Chapman, Government of India Political Department [Note: photographs for October 18th - November 4th 1936 are not included as their relationship to text is not detailed; see Mission Diary text for details of images] [see photos in publication]

Previous Pitt Rivers Museum Number


Other Information

Notes on print/mount - The reference 'BH/7' has been written on the back of the print in pencil [MS 22/03/2006]

Manual Catalogues -

Manual Catalogues - Caption in Chapman's hand-written list of negatives made whilst on the Mission to Lhasa, 1936-7 [See PRM Manuscripts Collection]: 'Ditto Ditto [B.J.G. [Gould]] vert. [vertical] v.g'; PRM Manuscripts Collection: ‘List of Tibetan Prints and Negatives’ - Book 3: ‘21/4 - The Political Officer Sikkim’ [MS 22/03/2006]

Exhibition - This image appeared in the 2003 Temporary Exhibition at the Pitt Rivers "Seeing Lhasa: British Depictions of the Tibetan Capital 1936-1947"

Research publication - Clare Harris and Tsering Shakya (eds.), 'Seeing Lhasa: British Depictions of the Tibetan Capital 1936-1947', Chicago: Serindia Publications, 2003, p. 49.

Other Information - Related Images

Other Information - Related Images: Images prefixed with 'BH' comprise a group of negatives containing images of Officials, Khampa person, Gould and personnel on the Mission. Most seem to have been taken on about December 10th 1936 [MS 22/03/2006]

Other Information - Setting

Other Information - Setting: Mission Diary for December 10th 1936: "Photographs were taken of all the Mission staff. Perhaps the syces in their tall gold-ornamented hats, and loose fitting robes edged with leopard skins, are the most spectacular members of our party. // In the afternoon we visited Kundeling monastery, where our landlords live" ['Lhasa Mission, 1936: Diary of Events', Part X p. 3, written by Chapman] [MS 22/03/2006]

Biographical Information - Sir Basil J. Gould in full dress uniform. Gould was Political Officer for Sikkim, Bhutan and Tibet and leader of the 1936 British Mission to Lhasa. He was invited to attend the installation of the 14th Dalai Lama in 1940 and made a final visit to Tibet in 1944. Heavily influenced by Sir Charles Bell (his predecessor as Political Officer) Gould was determined to establish a firm foothold for the British government in Tibet. He also took great pains to record and translate the Tibetan language and is said to have memorised a set of stock honorific phrases to assist in his diplomatic endeavours. Gould was renowned for his capacity for hard work and his colleagues found him “a lot to live up to”. As a career diplomat he was highly conscious of status, within both the British and Tibetan systems. He was pleased to be referred to as Lönchen – equating his rank with that of a Tibetan prime minister and is reputed to have worn evening dress for dinner even when in camp. [CH 2003]

For Citation use:
The Tibet Album. "Sir Basil Gould" 05 Dec. 2006. The Pitt Rivers Museum. <>.

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