Mission 'Paper Chase'

Mission 'Paper Chase'

1998.131.393 (Film negative)

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Raw Image


Photographer's handlist

[view record]

Key Information


Frederick Spencer Chapman


Frederick Spencer Chapman

Date of Photo

December 1936

Named Person

Dr Morgan, Evan Nepean, Hugh Richardson, Sir Basil Gould


Lhasa Area >

Accession number


Image Dimensions

113 x 85

The British Mission riding across a small river as part of a 'paper chase'. This was one of the leisure activities that the Mission members engaged in to keep themselves occupied and their horses fit. It involved a mission member laying a trail of paper, which mission staff would then follow in a race. A group of mission staff follow behind with, left to right, Morgan, Nepean, Richardson, Gould, leading the chase. A walled enclosure and willow trees in background.

Further Information

Photographic Process

Negative film nitrate

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

C.15.19 [view film roll]

Previous Pitt Rivers Museum Number


Other Information

In Negative - The number '19' has been scratched into the bottom right hand corner of the image. This has assisted identification of the negative as 'C.15.19' in Chapman's handlist of images [MS 23/03/2006]

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]: 'Paper chase starting off. Out of focus' [MS 23/03/2006]

Other Information - Setting

Other Information - Setting: "Nepean was made huntsman of "Mr Gould's Hounds" when they used to meet occasionally for a paper-chase. This was grand fun, as the country is ideal for the sport. The servants would be occupied all the morning tearing up old newspapers, and at 2pm the "hares", usually one of us and a clerk, would set off armed with two haversacks full of paper. Ten minutes later the field would assemble - about twenty would attend the meet - and set off in pursuit. ... Sometimes false trails would be cunningly laid and there would be a check. Often the hunt would finish with a wild neck-and-neck gallop between one hare and the leading hound. ... // The Tibetans, by the way, could never make out what we had lost when they saw us searching for the trail and then suddenly setting off at a gallop with our eyes fixed on the grass. They also had a disconcerting habit of picking up any odd bits of paper they found - a habit shared by the restless Tibetan wind" ['Lhasa: The Holy City', F. Spencer Chapman, London: Chatto & Windus, 1938, p. 268] [MS 23/03/2006]

Other Information - Related Images

Other Information - Related Images: Images prefixed with 'C.15.' seem to have been taken over a relatively long period from November 26th to January 7th. This may have been because Chapman was running out of quarter plate film at this point because the only other images he took using this film type appear to have been of the interior of the Norbhu Lingka, the Potala and ceremonies at the Jokhang. However, on December 20th he comments that "something is wrong with the 1/4 plate camera" [1938: 294], which may have influenced his use of it. Images with prefix 'C.15' comprise a group of negatives containing images of threshing barley, Regent’s house, ferry near Dekyi Lingka and panoramic views of environs, mummers, Norbu Lingka, paper chase, tea at football match, Everest permit, Khampa people. This collection of images is headed with the title of ‘Rural Pursuits’ and it seems that Chapman may originally have intended to use this box of negatives whilst seeking out scenes such as threshing barley. However, this objective seems to have passed as the negatives were used, as a wider variety of images than this title suggests were taken. This may also reflect the limitations of access to such scenes in and around the mission compound in the Dekyi Lingka and the constraints upon the photographic agenda of the mission [MS 13/03/2006]

For Citation use:
The Tibet Album. "Mission 'Paper Chase'" 05 Dec. 2006. The Pitt Rivers Museum. <http://tibet.prm.ox.ac.uk/photo_1998.131.393.html>.

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