Rattray, Robert Sutherland (1881-1938)*

Robert Sutherland Rattray – more commonly known  as ‘R.S. Rattray’ and sometimes simply as ‘Captain Rattray’ – was a British colonial civil servant who wrote a number of important early ethnographic works on the Ashanti, the most illustrious of the traditional states within what was then the British colony of the Gold Coast and is now Ghana.

Rattray also shot some modest black and white footage, probably in 1921, of an adae ceremony, in which the spirits of deceased Ashanti rulers are propitiated and asked for favours. He also shot footage of people on mpadua rafts on the sacred Lake Bosumtwi.

This footage is viewable via the website of the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford here. A more detailed description of the footage is given here.


© 2018 Paul Henley