19th Century Photography

People of India

“A portrait is not made in the camera but on either side of it.” As the chief photographer for Vogue and Vanity Fair in the early 1900s, Edward Steichen knew what he was talking about. Portraiture is the result of a dynamic collaboration between photographer and model, both of whom colour the final frame with… Read more »

Shimla in Winter; Mountains and Clouds, looking South of Shimla

This photograph shows a view of Shimla during the winters from an elevated platform overlooking a snow-clad mountainous landscape covered with pine trees. Shimla, the current capital of Himachal Pradesh, was regarded as a favoured resort with the British residents in the nineteenth and the early twentieth century. It was known as the ‘English Convalescent… Read more »

View on a Stream at Larji, Kullu,

This photograph of a footbridge over a stream flowing between a valley was captured at Larji in the Kullu district by Samuel Bourne. In 1866, Samuel Bourne proposed to trek the, “rich valley of the Beas river through Kulu, penetrate into the wild and desolate regions of Spiti as far as the borders of Tibet,… Read more »

Junction of the Wanga and Sutlej Rivers

Samuel Bourne took this photograph of a bridge over the Wanga and the Sutlej river junction during his first expedition in the Himalayas in 1863. In the summer of 1863, on the 29th of July, Bourne set off from Shimla for his ten weeks journey into the Himalayas. This was his very first Himalayan expedition.… Read more »

View of the Kashmir Road, near Budrawar

This photograph of a river and a snow-clad mountain range in the background near Budrawar, a town four days from Chamba, was taken by Samuel Bourne. Bourne halted here for a day during his second major expedition to Kashmir and adjacent districts in 1864. Reflecting on his encounters with the residents of Budrawar, he wrote… Read more »

Twig Bridge On The Chenab Near Kishtwar

This photograph of a bridge over the Chenab river near Kishtwar, located in the present-day Jammu and Kashmir state, was taken by Samuel Bourne. Sharing his impression of the bridge in the British Journal of Photography, Bourne informed, “I soon found myself again at the Chenab, but this time only to cross it by a… Read more »

Source of the Ganges, Ice cave at the foot of the Glacier

This photograph, taken by Samuel Bourne, is of the ice cave at the foot of the Gangotri glacier. The image shows two men at the foot of the glacier where the river emerges out of the ice cave, also called ‘Gomukh’. Recalling his reaction upon reaching the glacier, Bourne writes, “we reached our destination at… Read more »

Detached building in the Court, Belloor (Chennakeshava Temple, Belur)

This photograph from the ‘Architecture in Dharwar and Mysore’ was taken by  Dr. A.C.B.Neill in 1856. Pictured are the incomplete facets of the adhisthana (temple base) and the bhitti (wall) of the temple.  The Chennakeshava Temple complex in Belur consists of several smaller shrines and monuments constructed by several kings over the centuries. According to James Fergusson, it was… Read more »

Detail, Temple at Belloor (Chennakeshava Temple, Belur)

This photograph from the ‘Architecture in Dharwar and Mysore’ was taken by  Dr. A.C.B.Neill in 1856. Pictured here is the outer wall of the pillared hall of the temple.  The photographer has finely captured the carved rows and niches of the adhisthana (temple base), jali vatayana (netted wall), and the pilasters on the bhitti (body/wall) of the temple. The adhisthana (temple… Read more »

Temple, Belloor (Chennakeshava Temple, Belur)

This photograph from the ‘Architecture in Dharwar and Mysore’ was taken by  Dr. A.C.B.Neill in 1856.  The temple identified here is the Chennakeshava temple in Belur, Karnataka. The photograph shows the entrance to the temple flanked by small subordinating shrines on either side of the stairway. The topmost structure consists of five devakoshtas (niches) with divinities inside. … Read more »

Jain Temple, Guduk (Doddabasappa Temple, Gadag)

This photograph from the ‘Architecture in Dharwar and Mysore’ was taken by photographer Dr. William Henry Pigou in 1856. The temple identified here is the Chalukyan Doddabasappa temple built in the 12th century and is located 20kms away from Gadag city in Karnataka.  Incorrectly captioned as a Jain temple by the photographer/publisher, the temple is dedicated… Read more »

View from Quai Dupleix on the Hougli river, Chandernagore (Chandannagar)

This photograph shows a view of the river Hooghly from Chandannagar’s riverside promenade known today as Strand Road or Strand Promenade. Estimated to have been built primarily in the 19th century, waterfront road was previously named Quai Dupleix after Joseph Francois Dupleix, who prior to serving as the French Indian Governor General, had served as… Read more »

Quai dupleix, Chandernagore (Chandannagar)

This photograph shows a view of Chandannagar’s riverside promenade known today as Strand Road or Strand Promenade. Stretching alongside the Hooghly, the promenade is estimated to have been built primarily in the 19th century, and even today remains an iconic landmark in the city – where residents come to unwind and gaze at the river.… Read more »

Clock Tower and Jail, Chandernagore (Chandannagar)

Pictured here is a clock tower built in 1880 in Chandannagar’s Strand Promenade. Featuring a clock gifted by Joseph Daumain St. Pourcain in 1845, the building served as a police unit and jail, and continues to house the town’s police station to this day. The photograph is among several of 19th century Bengal captured by… Read more »

Strand Promenade, Chandernagore (Chandannagar)

Pictured here is Chandannagar’s wide riverside promenade known as Strand Road or Strand Promenade. Stretching alongside the Hooghly, the promenade is estimated to have been built primarily in the 19th century, and even today remains an iconic landmark in the city – where residents come to unwind and gaze at the river. The photograph is… Read more »

View of the Kali Ghat, Calcutta

The Kalighat area first finds its mention in the 15th century Bengali text, Manasā-Vijaya, written by poet Bipradas Pipilai. It is also mentioned in a 16th century literary work Chandimangala by Mukundaram Chakrabarti. Kalighat was also established as a pilgrimage centre after legend placed a fragment of Sati’s body here, near the Ganges and since… Read more »

Kali Ghat, Calcutta

This is an image of a bridge over Tolly Nullah at Kalighat in Calcutta  by Samuel Bourne. Warren Hastings, the Governor General of India from 1773 – 1785, had acquired permission in 1763 to build a suspension bridge over Tolly Nullah which was to connect Kalighat to his garden house in Alipore. It was later… Read more »