Mercer’s album (the compiler served in the Royal Artillery in Bengal, and the inscription at the front of the album indicating all of the photographs date to before 28 July 1876) includes important early photographs of South East Asia and the Subcontinent, notably John Thomson’s photograph of the ‘“Traveller’s” palm, Singapore, c.1864’, the print here measuring 8¾ x 5½in. (22.2 x 13.9cm.), for which see S. White, John Thomson Life and Photographs, London, 1985, pl.5. The inclusion alongside of seven further fine early views of Singapore and two of Penang might suggest some are by Thomson. The Scottish photographer was in Singapore by 12 June 1862, where he joined his brother, already in business as a manufacturer of chronometer, optical and nautical instruments. He spent ten months in Penang and Province Wellesley in 1862-3, where he set up a studio, before moving back to Singapore and establishing a studio on Commercial Square (‘Commercial Square, Singapore’, the first of the Singapore views in the album). The second Singapore view, ‘Singapore from the harbour’, with its thin but richly detailed slice of land between water and sky has a formal and aesthetic similarity with several of his Hong Kong views (for which see the preceding lot). Of the remaining Singapore views here, some have been published, without attribution, such as ‘Singapore’, a panorama overlooking Singapore, for which see G. Liu, Singapore: A Pictorial History 1819-2000, Singapore, 1999, p.40 (‘Chinatown from Pearl’s Hill, photographer unknown, early 1860s’). The album is complemented by a fine series of early views of Burma (where Mercer presumably served with the Bengal Staff Corps) by J. Joseph and others, one dated (‘Dacoits. Col: Hamilton’s Murderers. 1875 … Rangoon’) and of Java, the latter views and still lifes probably by Walter Woodbury.