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James McDonald
Nationality: 
british
Gender: 
Male
Birth Date: 
1822
Death Date: 
1885
Sergeant Major. In 1866 a team of British army engineers was sent to Jerusalem to survey the city's drainage and water supply. Two years later the same company returned to map the Sinai Peninsula. On both these expeditions, Sergeant James McDonald took numerous photographs of the places, the terrain, the monuments and the people. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/arts/features/story/0,11710,998233,00.html) In 1868 a small survey team of Royal Engineers led by Captain Wilson and Captain Palmer and including the photographer Sgt. James McDonald, began a five month expedition into the Sinai desert - the region where Moses and his followers wandered for forty years in search of the Promised Land. Their goal, under the auspices of the military, was to produce accurate maps and survey photographs of the region. In particular: "that there is a great need to carry out such a survey must be manifest to all students of Old Testament history; among the most important and interesting questions which are subjects of inquiry are the locations of the Passage of the Red Sea, the Route and Encampments of the Israelites, and the identification of the Mountain of the Law-Giving." Sgt.McDonald returned with over a hundred albumen print plates. They record the purported sites of the Burning Bush and Ten Commandments and include images of the large tablets or stele’s with Egyptian inscriptions that lay strewn across the area and several panoramas showing the vertiginous scale and bleakness of the barren desert landscape. (http://www.absolutearts.com/artsnews/2003/06/23/31151.html) The core of the exhibition is the work of Colour-Sergeant James McDonald, who accompanied the Royal Engineers on their 1864 and 1868 surveys of Jerusalem and the Sinai. (http://www.nga.gov.au/exhibitions/Holy.html)