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Thomas Valpy French (1825-1891), Bishop of Lahore

Sitter in 2 portraits
Born at Burton-upon-Trent, French was the eldest child of the vicar of Holy Trinity in Stretton. In 1850, shortly after he was ordained as a priest, he joined the Church Missionary Society who sent him to India to be Principal of a St John's College in Agra. Despite the efforts of some missionaries, overseas bishops were predominantly Westerners until the twentieth century. In 1877 he was consecrated as the first bishop of the large diocese of Lahore. An expert on Indian languages, French published sermons in Urdu, and translated the prayer book into local languages. He sought to establish a Church in India that did not simply replicate the English Church but instead allowed for cultural differences.

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x134526

Thomas Valpy French

by Walker & Boutall, after Elliott & Fry
photogravure, circa 1880s
NPG x134526

x159059

Thomas Valpy French

by Elliott & Fry
albumen cabinet card, circa 1880s
NPG x159059