Title: Photograph, “A view…to the east of the Todtensee near the summit of the Grimsel Pass”   

Creator: Frederick Noel Ashcroft (1878-1949)

Description:  Photograph captioned “3. A view looking southward from a point a little to the east of the Todtensee near the summit of the Grimsel Pass.”  Ashcroft notes in the caption: ‘I do not know the names of the peaks for certain’.

Friedrich Noel Ashcroft Fleischmann was born in Wavetree, Liverpool on 28 August 1878.

Between 1901-1914, Fleischmann specialised in collecting zeolites mainly from Europe and America.  The collection, when it was presented to the British Museum in 1914, consisted of around 2,000 specimens from 80 different localities.

After the end of the First World War, Frederick Noel Ashcroft (he anglicised his name in November 1914) began undertaking yearly visits to Switzerland, making the acquaintance of leading and local mineralogists many of whom were expert Alpine guides and from whom he would purchase specimens.  He made it a condition, however, that he should be not only able to ascertain the exact locality of every specimen but also preferably inspect the area himself.  Ashcroft’s principal collecting areas were centred around Disentis and Sedrun in the Vorder Rhein Valley and about Andermatt and Amsteg. From the latter two places he could also reach the mineral localities of the Reuss Valley, St Gotthard, Urseren Thal, Göschenen Thal and Maderaner Thal.   Two of his most useful local mineral contacts were Adolf Caveng, the postmaster at Sedrun, and his son Ambrosi to whom he would send maps onto which they would mark the localities of interesting finds.  In the following summer Ashcroft could then visit the localities himself and photograph the sites with his half-plate stand camera.  Prints from photographs were used to pin-point the finds more precisely and to record any further finds that were made.

Ashcroft’s Swiss mineral collection of over 6000 specimens was donated to the British Museum between 1921-1938, along with the photographs connected to their collection.  Although he did not write any papers on his Swiss collection, he collaborated in the two volume work ‘Die Mineralien der Schweizeralpen’ (1940) by Niggli, P, et al, and in which a number of his photographs appear.

The image is taken from two albums containing 73 black and white photographs of the Swiss Alps, taken by Ashcroft probably during his mineral collecting in the region between 1921-1938.   The captions are quoted as written by Ashcroft.

Date: [1921-1938]

Format: Black and white photograph

Archive reference: LDGSL/1022/3

Image reference: 05-102

Original size: c.38cm x 29cm

Recommended print size: Up to 16 x 12 inches (40 x 30cm)


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