Jules Leonard SCHAUMBURG Ruth O'Brien HARRIS treeI213.gif

Jules Henri Jean SCHAUMBURG

1839 - 1869

Life History

1839

Born

1869

Died

Other facts

 

Married Ruth O'Brien HARRIS

 

Birth of son Jules Leonard SCHAUMBURG

All the following came from Sylvia Murphy's now defunct website. Since culling the information below, Sylvia has done a great deal of digging into her Schaumburg ancestry. Lacking a single drop of Schaumburg blood in my own veins, this is tangential to my own genealogy. Those interested should search further afield for Sylvia Murphy, Schaumburg etc.

Jules Henri Jean Schaumburg was a documented but little known artist. He was born on 15th July 1839 in Antwerp, Belgium, and studied at the Academy of Fine Arts under the tutelage of Lucas Schaefels (1824-1885), a famous engraver. Two works by Schaumburg, ‘Marine’ and ‘Les Moulins’ (1861) are documented in the European art literature. However, by May 1864 Jules was in Bombay planning to accompany Louis Rousselet on travels round central and northern India which would last until September 1868.

The mode of passage or date of Jules' arrival at Bombay have not yet been discovered; although there is a hint that he may have survived shipwreck. During his stay in Bombay he possibly lived in Mazagon - an engraving entitled 'Ma Maison à and appeared in the first edition of Rousselet's published account of their travels. Louis Rousselet was a reknowned French surveyor, traveller, photographer, and writer, who arrived in Bombay on 3 July 1863 aboard the SS Malta. Having already spent almost 12 months visiting southern India and parts of the Deccan, he says

“Towards the middle of May (1864) I again set out on my travels. To reach the north of India two roads were open to me ... the other, which passes through the country of the Bheels and Rajpootana, was longer, more difficult, more dangerous, but less known. I did not hesitate to choose the latter. A young Flemish painter, M.Schaumburg, whose acquaintance I had made at Bombay, proposed to accompany me, and I acceded to his request with great pleasure.”

On 10th June 1864, Schaumburg joined Rousselet in Baroda and after spending about 6 months there as the guest of the Guicowar, these two Europeans spent the next few years travelling central and northern India, with an emphasis on the Princely States. While in Baroda, the Guicowar provided them with use of a summer palace: the Motibaugh. Rousselet describes it:

“A long row of buildings, of Hindoo construction, takes up one side of the garden, which is planted with fruit trees, and pretty shrubberies. Statues, fountains, and kiosks make it a charming spot; and an enormous pavilion in the centre contains a well stocked museum of European curiosities. Near the palace is a wood of gigantic trees, crossed here and there by beautiful paths. Our residence was embellished with everything that could render life in this country agreeable - coolness, shade, luxurious comfort, and a smiling prospect. But the Guicowar's hospitality did not stop there. A numerous staff of servants had been placed at our disposal, and our table was supplied at his expense with the choicest dishes and the best wines of Europe.”

It seems they also had space reserved at the main palace, and it is clear that Schaumburg was able to continue with his painting:

“The king had reserved for me a pavilion in his palace, where I could pass the hours of the siesta, without returning to the Motibaugh; and Schaumburg had there established his atelier, in which he painted the portraits of the king and Bhao, and several views of Baroda and the neighbourhood.”

These excerpts were taken from Rousselet's illustrated account of their journey which was published in 1875 as ‘L'Inde des Rajahs’ An English translation followed in the next year as ‘India and its Native Princes’ which was reprinted [revised & edited by Lieut Col Buckle] in 1882 with some changes to the illustrations. A paperback edition has been published more recently. It not only covers their activities, including tiger hunts (at which my great grandfather Schaumburg did not acquit himself with distinction!); the trials and tribulations of travel by foot, camel, elephant, palanquin, etc as conditions required, but also detailed and rather scholarly information about the history of many of the ancient palaces and landmarks which were visited. A map of India showing the route taken is available here.

There are too many highlights to mention them all, but they were present at the Grand Durbar in Agra in November 1866 for the Viceroy, Sir John Lawrence, and it seems that they were sufficiently well acquainted with the ‘right’ people to obtain seats in the Shamiana, or ceremonial tent.

When in BHOPAL in 1867, they were presented with Sirdar costumes described thus:“The glittering costumes ordered by the Queen consisted of long tunics of green silk gauze embossed with gold; vast petticoat pantaloons of crimson satin embroidered with silver, kumerbunds, or cashmere belts, of violet and gold, cloaks of deep scarlet-coloured cashmere embroidered with gold and silver, and to crown all, toque diadems in fine gold.”

Eventually they turned up in CALCUTTA, and at the close of his book, Rousselet says: “...and on the 1st September 1868, I went on board the Labourdonnais ... I had also to say good-bye to my good and faithful companion, who was detained by fresh projects in the country. My old bearer Devi, the trusty servant who had followed me for two years through so many good and evil fortunes, was there also, melted in tears, and embracing my knees. At last the moment of parting arrived; the bell rang; I saw Schaumburg, and the old bearer pushing off in the boat, and waing me their last adieu.”

That Jules Schaumburg was appointed to work for The Geological Survey of India as an Artist, possibly Chief Draughtsman(1875), is known. However his whereabouts during the following 8 years is unclear, although in 1877 Thackers Bengal Directory lists his address as 24 Chowringhee Road, close to his place of work at the New Indian Museum. He was earning only 300Rs per month at this time, hopefully supplemented by private art commissions.

According to information provided by Shri Arun Ghose, Senior Restorer at the Victoria Memorial in Calcutta, Jules was elected an “Associate Member of the Royal Asiatic Society of Bengal in 1874 for his learned knowledge in classical Indian Sculpture and Palaentology.”

He married at St Pauls Cathedral by licence on his 39th birthday - 15 July 1878 - to Ruth O'Brien Harris, the 20 year old daughter of Isabella Caroline (nee McLean) and David Harris (probably deceased).

Two children were born to Jules and Ruth Schaumburg: Ruth Nina, born 6 June 1879 & baptised 10 September 1879 at St John's Old Church, Calcutta and Jules Leonard, born 20 December 1881 & baptised 15 March 1882 also at St John's. (This was my grandfather). Sadly, the children were not able to enjoy the company of their father for long as he died suddenly of a fever on 17 February 1886 and was buried the same day at the General Episcopal Cemetaries in Circular Road and Park Street.

THE ARTIST. At the time of his death, Jules Schaumburg, in addition to his responsibilities with the Geological Survey of India, was Acting Principal of the Government School of Art in Bow Bazar Street, a role he had held at least since 1884 when the Principal, Henri Hover Locke went on leave. Mr Locke pre-deceased Jules by only two months and the two men are buried next to each other.

Shri Arun Ghose of the Victoria Memorial has provided further information that shows Jules Schaumburg was well respected in his day. He won an award for his art work at the 3rd Calcutta Fine Arts Exhibition held in 1879; was Chairman of the Sculpture Committee for the First International Exhibition in Calcutta in 1883-84 and also took part in subsequent art exhibitions in Calcutta. However, the quest continues to locate the whereabouts of any surviving artworks. The only one known is a watercolour held at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, but not on public display: 'View of the Deserted City of Amber, Rajputana, from the Walls of the Palace', probably painted in 1866.

The policy of E B Havell, incoming Principal of the Art School (1896) to concentrate on native Indian art, resulted in the removal of European art works from the School and Gallery in 1906. There are none of his pictures on public display in Calcutta, although the following were known:

  • Sunset on the Hooghly
  • Jamma Musjid and Street Scenes, Bhopal
  • Native Ferry Boat
  • Moonlight
  • Sunrise
  • Mistey Morning

Additionally, the following paintings are known to have been auctioned by Sotheby's in London on 27 May 1988:

  • A Funeral Pyre, Jaipur, Rajasthan watercolour over pencil (probably from 1866)
  • A Courtesan, dated 1885, in oil on canvas.

Sadly the provenance of these paintings is unknown. If any reader is able advise the location of art works by Jules H J Schaumburg, please contact