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Anonymous - Elephant on Beat and The Goat's Leap
Anonymous
Elephant on Beat and The Goat's Leap
$400
Sale
$280
Anonymous - Himalayas from Kashmir
Anonymous
Himalayas from Kashmir
$900
Sale
$630
Anonymous - Railroad Bridge in India
Anonymous
Railroad Bridge in India
$350
Sale
$245
Anonymous - Himalayas from Kashmir
Anonymous
Himalayas from Kashmir
$900
Sale
$630
Anonymous - Himalayas from Kashmir
Anonymous
Himalayas from Kashmir
$750
Sale
$525
Samuel Bourne - View on the Dal Canal, Srinagar, Kashmir
Samuel Bourne
View on the Dal Canal, Srinagar, Kashmir
$450
Sale
$315
Anonymous - Elephants: Tying Continued and Finished
Anonymous
Elephants: Tying Continued and Finished
$600
Sale
$420
J. E. Sache - Snowy Range, Himalaya from
J. E. Sache
Snowy Range, Himalaya from "Snow Seat, Nainital/View of Naintal with Bell's Shop Assembly Rooms
$850
Sale
$595
Hugh Owen - Chain Armor and Swords, India, Exhibited at Great Exhibition, London
Hugh Owen
Chain Armor and Swords, India, Exhibited at Great Exhibition, London
$1,500
Sale
$1,050
Captain Linnaeus Tripe or Col. Biggs - Binlee Palms, India
Captain Linnaeus Tripe or Col. Biggs
Binlee Palms, India
$4,500
Sale
$3,150
Dr. John Murray - Simla
Dr. John Murray
Simla
$5,000
Sale
$3,500
Dr. John Murray - Ulwar, Temples and Tank
Dr. John Murray
Ulwar, Temples and Tank
$2,500
By Matt Damsker
Himalayas from Kashmir
De Lagrange--Hindu Temple, Moodern a Mondlesir entre Agra

Few subjects proved as fertile for the seminal photography of the 19th century as the architectural grandeur and exotic atmospheres of the Indian subcontinent. In the mid-1850s through the 1860s, as the British raj opened India to western eyes and, indeed, exploitation, such pioneering photographers as Samuel Bourne and John Edward Sache documented the culture and structures that defined Indian daily and religious life. In doing so, they largely set the standard for the West's tourist view of India and the east, with an emphasis on the ornate Hindu temples, tombs and grand palaces--often captured in elegant mid-range and misty landscape shots--and formally posed examples of India's royalty and local color.

In this exhibition, many fascinating anonymous images are presented, affirming that a wealth of worthy if lesser known Indian photography coexists with the more celebrated. Anonymous images of Lucknow, for examples, are extraordinary in that they explore the city in the rarely photographed era prior to the devastating Mutiny (Indians call it a Revolution) of 1857, preserving for us important salt-print studies of grand structures such as Husainabad Imambada, a royal building with marble and arches said to be as worthy as the Taj Mahal. Other, more intimate images of, for example, snake-charmers and elephants connect us to the daily vitality of Indian existence with wonderful immediacy.

Then there are the great studies of temple ruins, tombs and other ornately detailed Indian sanctuaries, attributed to the cameras of such as Richard Banner Oakeley or Dr. John Murray--some of them surviving as paper calotype negatives of remarkable historic interest. And while Sache's studio is also represented with views of the Himalayan mountain ranges, this exhibit is richer in an anonymous series of superb views of the snowy Himalayas from Kashmir, with the forbidding peaks of the great range seen at a broad distance, beyond magical clouds and undulant hills.

Himalayas from Kashmir
Himalayas from Kashmir

In some cases, these ravishing anonymous landscapes may be the work of Bourne or Sache, but regardless of their authorship, they are definitive views of a world which was incredibly evocative--and new--to the exploring eyes of the Victorian age. If anything, they affirm for us how powerfully the presence of India's terrain, its people, and its monuments registered in those nascent days of photography, pushing the medium to heights of Pictorialism on one hand and historical documentation on the other. Indeed, while the Jewel in the Crown was a subjugated geography that would suffer the long night of colonialism, it was also a beacon for photography's aesthetic evolution.

India in the 19th-Century
About This Exhibit
Image List

Exhibited and Sold By
Contemporary Works / Vintage Works, Ltd.

258 Inverness Circle
Chalfont, Pennsylvania   18914   USA

Contact Alex Novak and Marthe Smith

Email info@vintageworks.net

Phone +1-215-822-5662

Call for an Appointment

 

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