Catalogue of the Archive of Philip Allison

Bodleian Library, University of Oxford

Lucy McCann
2017


Cataloguing assistance provided by Molly Nickson.

Department of Special Collections
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Table of Contents

Introduction
A   Diaries 1936-1977
B   Research papers and publications 1944-1994
C   Photographs and slides 1923-1991
    C.1   Cross River monoliths and stone sculptures c.1930-1991
    C.2   General photographs 1923-1978
    C.3   Slides and negatives c.1960-1969


Archive of Philip Allison

1923-1994

Abstract:
Papers and photographs of Philip Allison (1907-1991) relating to African art and antiquities, particularly the Cross River monoliths.

Extent: 3 Linear metres, 19 physical shelfmarks
Language(s) of Material: English

General

MSS. Afr. s. 2535/1-19

Biographical history

Philip Ashby Allison was born in 1907 and educated at Caterham School and St Catharine's College, Cambridge. After training at the Forestry School in Oxford he served in the Nigerian Forestry Service from 1931 until 1960. During this time he developed an interest in African art and antiquities and returned to Nigeria after independence to work for the Department of Antiquities, surveying, photographing and collecting art and artefacts for Nigerian museums.

In 1961 and 1962 Allison surveyed the Cross River monoliths (known locally as Akwanshi) in Eastern Nigeria, recording 295 carved stones found within an area of 350 square miles along the Middle Cross River, and the results of this work were published in Cross River Monoliths in 1968. In the same year his second book, African Stone Sculpture, was also published and became a standard work on the subject.

Allison returned to England in 1963 and worked part-time in the British Museum's Department of Ethnography. He retired to the New Forest in 1967 and published a photographic record of the region in 1979 ( The New Forest: a photographic record of 100 years of forest life) and, in 1988, a photographic account of colonial life in West Africa ( Life in the White Man's Grave). He died in 1991.

Scope and Content

The archive comprises diaries and lists of acquisitions, research papers and publications, photographs, slides and negatives.

Acquisition

Donated by Professor John Picton in December 2008, fulfilling Philip Allison's wishes.

Origination

Allison | Philip| 1907-1991 | forestry officer and ethnographer

Bibliographical References

Philip Allison, African stone sculpture, (Lund Humphries: 1968).Philip Allison, Cross River monoliths, (Dept. of Antiquities, Federal Republic of Nigeria: 1968).

Preferred Form of Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Library [followed by shelfmark e.g. MSS. Afr. s. 2535/1]

Subject(s)

20th century
Africa, West -- History
Sculpture -- Africa, West
Stone carving -- Africa, West

A   Diaries 1936-1977

General

MSS. Afr. s. 2535/1-2


Diaries
Date: 1936-1977
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2535/1
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 1 box

Scope and Content

Philip Allison's diaries comprising:

Collecting diaries and lists of acquisitions for the Nigerian Museums
Date: 1960-1962
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2535/2
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 1 box

Scope and Content

Philip Allison's diaries of collecting trips on behalf of the Nigerian Museums with lists of items acquired and prices paid. The diaries include information on the history of items, how they they were made and some sketches.

B   Research papers and publications 1944-1994

General

MSS. Afr. s. 2535/3-7


Research papers and publications
Date: 1944-1990
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2535/3
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 1 box

Scope and Content

Papers and publications relating to Philip Allison's research into art and antiquities in Nigeria comprising:

Two typescript drafts of 'Collector's Piece' with manuscript corrections
Date: n.d. [c. 1970]
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s.. 2535/4
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 1 box

Scope and Content

'Collector's Piece' was Allison's unpublished account of his collecting trips for the Nigerian museums through southern Nigeria, set against the country's historical background.

Third typescript draft of 'Collector's Piece' with manuscript corrections and correspondence with publishers
Date: 1970-1976
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2535/5
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 1 box

Correspondence and related articles
Date: 1945-1994
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2535/6
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 1 box

Scope and Content

Comprising:

Research notebooks
Date: 1945-1960
Shelfmark: MSs. Afr. s. 2535/7
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 1 box

Scope and Content

Comprising:

C   Photographs and slides 1923-1991

C.1   Cross River monoliths and stone sculptures c.1930-1991

General note

MSS. Afr. s. 2535/8-14

Contact prints and catalogue of Cross River monoliths
Date: 1961-1991 mainly 1961-1962
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2535/8
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 1 box

Scope and Content

Spring-back binder containing contact prints of the Cross River monoliths photographed by Allison, 23 Jan-17 Feb 1961, with maps showing their location, Allison's account of the area, historical background, description of the monoliths, his account of his second visit in Jan-Feb 1962 and related information. Also, small black notebook entitled 'Akwanshi Catalogue 23/1/61-17/2/61' describing the carved stones in the Ikom and Obubra divisions of Ogoja Province.

Photographs of Cross River monoliths by Allison
Date: 1961-1962
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2535/9
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 1 box

Photographs of African stone sculptures
Date: 1935-1961
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2535/10
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 1 box

Scope and Content

Including photographs by Allison, Ian Brinkworth, E.H. Duckworth, W.B. Fagg and Philip Stevens. Includes photographs of stone sculptures at Esie.

Photographs of African stone sculptures
Date: c.1930-1968
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2535/11
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 1 box

Scope and Content

Photographs relating to Allison's book on African stone sculptures including photographs from the Musee de l'Homme, Paris, the British Museum, the Pitt Rivers Museum and Frobenius Institute, Frankfurt, 1930s-1960s.

Photographs of African stone sculptures
Date: c.1960-1985
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2535/12
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 1 box

Scope and Content

Photographs relating to Allison's book on African stone sculptures including photographs from the Musee Royale de l'Afrique Centrale. Includes several photographs of stone sculptures at Esie, some of carved monoliths in Ethiopia and sculptures which have been sold. With photographs of some sculptures in wood and bronze.

Plate proofs and postcards
Date: 1965-1968
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2535/13
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 1 box

Scope and Content

Plate proofs of images of the Cross River monoliths and stone sculptures for Allison's books, with postcards of brass, copper and stone sculptures from the Nigerian Museums, Rhodesian postage stamp depicting a soapstone sculpture and Nigerian postage stamp depicting carved monoliths.

Large scale prints of a selection of Allison's photographs, mounted for exhibition
Date: 1961-1968
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2535/14
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 1 box

C.2   General photographs 1923-1978

General note

MSS. Afr. s. 2535/15-17

Photograph albums
Date: 1923-1939
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2535/15
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 1 box

Scope and Content

Comprising:

Photograph album
Date: 1939-1967
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2535/16
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 1 box

Scope and Content

Including photographs of people and street scenes at Nsukka market, Sierra Leone, Gold Coast, forest schools at Olokemeji and Ibadan, Morocco, Spain, England, the Ibadan Players, Queen Elizabeth II at 1957 self-government celebrations, Olokun shrine, Fuga, Tanganyika, Timbuktoo, amateur dramatics, 1939-1967. With cutting from the Salisbury Journal, 23 Nov 1967, showing Allison as Julius Caesar in a production by the Studio Theatre.

Loose photographs
Date: 1934-1978
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2535/17
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 1 box

Scope and Content

Comprising:

C.3   Slides and negatives c.1960-1969

General note

MSS. Afr. s. 2535/18-19

Slides of Africa and travel in Europe
Date: 1961-1968
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2535/18
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 1 box

Scope and Content

Comprising:

Negatives of stone sculptures, scenes in Africa and personal photographs
Date: c. 1960-1969
Shelfmark: MSS. Afr. s. 2535/19
Language(s) of Material: English
Extent: 1 box

Scope and Content

Includes Fuga dancers, Obas Festival, Timbuctoo, South Africa, Sudan, Egypt, Europe, British Museum specimens and stone sculptures. With folders in which negatives were stored containing captions written by Allison.


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