photograph
photograph
photograph

photograph

Artwork

Accession Number
2014.014.020a-b
Description
Photograph of twelve men seated around a table on which holds a skull as its centrepiece. Behind the table are the British and American flags crossed with a shield hanging in the centre above the men. The shield depicts the Freiberg University of Mining and Technology's logo. The photo is matted in green with a black frame.
Narrative
This framed photograph of a group of twelve men seated around a small desk or alter with a skull on its surface was taken in 1899. The moustached man seated at the left side of the table resting his left arm is John William Bryden (1869-1953), grandson of Robert and Joan Dunsmuir. The significance of the human skull in this photograph is not known.

John William Bryden was a student of mine engineering and metallurgy at Technische Universität Bergakademie Freiberg (usually translated from German as Freiberg University of Mining and Technology or Freiberg Mining Academy), a German university founded in 1765.

The men are posing before very large crossed British and United States of America flags. A graphic representation of the flags and a version of the university’s logo are painted on a shield hanging against the wall above the group. The men are members of the University's Anglo-American Club and this is their Club portrait. John Bryden was the Club Vice President. In 2015, Dr. Herbert Kaden, the University’s Archivist, advised The Castle Society Curator that the Anglo-American Club usually met in the back of a Freiberg restaurant called Ritterhof. This might be the location where the photograph was taken.  

Mr. Bryden attended classes at Universität Bergakademie Freiberg from 1898 to 1899. During the 1898 year, his 1st cousin, Robert William Dunsmuir (1877-1925), generally known as “Robin Dunsmuir”, was also a student at the university. The Anglo American Club roster shows him as being a Club member during the winter semester of 1898. University records indicate that Robin was not a student at the institution in 1897 or 1899, which may indicate that he failed to complete his studies.

The donation of this photograph in 2014 caused The Castle Society to research its origin, which led to the important discovery that Robin William Dunsmuir and John William Bryden were fellow students of mine engineering in Freiberg at the same time. This fact strongly suggests that Joan Dunsmuir and her sons James and Alexander had a succession plan for the management of the family mining business. If this is the case, the plan's failure could be attributed to several factors, including Joan’s sale of the businesses to her sons, Alexander’s death in January 1900, and Robin’s unreliable personality.  

There is a Bryden family story that the King of Saxony (Frederick Augustus Albert Anton Ferdinand Joseph Karl Maria Baptist Nepomuk Wilhelm Xaver Georg Fidelis), who reigned Saxony from 1873 to 1902, gave Mr. Bryden a pistol while he was a student at Freiburg. Dr. Herbert Kaden searched through University’s archive for evidence of a visit from the King to the University during Byden’s time there. He did not find evidence of a visit, but he discovered that unnamed “representatives of the Mining Academy were invited to Dresden for the celebration of the 70th birthday and 25 year reign of the King of Saxony”. The King’s 70th birthday was on April 23, 1898. 
 
History of Use
This picture was first owned by John William Bryden (1869-1953), grandson of Robert and Joan Dunsmuir. He kept the photograph in Victoria B.C., and later, at his home on Gartley Beach, Royston, B.C. The next owner was his son, Gerald Robert Bryden (1913-1992), also of Royston, and later by his daughter, who gave it to The Castle Society.
Date
1899
Dimensions
41 cm x 2 cm x 35 cm
Material
Wood; Paper, matboard; Glass
Subject/Image
Anglo-America Club, Freiberg University of Mining and Technology, 1899.
Medium
Photographic
Support
Cardboard
Country of Origin
Saxony (Germany)

Related people/businesses/organizations
John William Bryden (owner)
Gerald Robert Bryden (owner)
Anglo-American Club (depicts)