The Scoundrel Harry Larkyns and his Pitiless Killing by the Photographer Eadweard Muybridge

Written by Rebecca Gowers
Review by Alan Cassady-Bishop

In 1874, the photographic pioneer Eadweard Muybridge shot and killed a man. A court, against all existing laws, exonerated the admitted and unrepentant murderer. What was it about the victim, Major Harry Larkyns, which allowed a jury to think he deserved death? A clue to a murder lies in the victim’s personality. Who was Harry? While the killer Muybridge achieved fame, through his inventive method of capturing a moving subject and his vast collection of landscape photographs, the newspapers reporting on the crime cast doubt on Harry’s claims: that he served in India under both the East India Company and the British army, that he earned the Légion d’honneur serving under General Bourbaki during the Franco-Prussian War, even that he came from a wealthy and celebrated family in England.

Author Rebecca Gowers discovered that she was related to Major Larkyns and wanted to find the truth behind the outrageous claims of the admittedly popular rogue and adventurer. As she dug into records, she found that there was far more than meets the eye to the scoundrel Harry Larkyns.