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Photograph - Reliefs, Madras

Reliefs, Madras

  • Object:


  • Date:

    1858 (made)

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, room 512M, case MX17, shelf X, box 379

Captain Linnaeus Tripe (1822 – 1902) occupies a special place in the history
of nineteenth-century photography for the outstanding body of work he produced inIndia and Burma (now the Republic of Myanmar) between 1854 and 1860. Although helearned photography in Great Britain from amateurs who considered it a pastime, he recognized that it could be an effective tool for conveying information about unknown cultures and regions. With few models to follow, Tripe developed a professional practice under the auspices of the large bureaucracy of the British East India Company.Reflecting his military discipline as an officer in the British army, he achieved remarkably consistent results, despite the Indian heat and humidity, which posed constant challenges to photographic chemistry. In addition, Tripe’s schooling as a surveyor, where the choice of viewpoint and careful attention to visual details were essential, gave his photographs their distinctive aesthetic rigor.


1858 (made)

Object history note

Present at 'CAPTAIN LINNAEUS TRIPE' exhibition, photographer of India and Burma 1852-1860.

This exhibition is organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington,and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, in association with the Victoria and Albert Museum, London

This exhibition is made possible by The Exhibition Circle of the National Gallery of Art

It is also supported by the Trellis Fund

Descriptive line

19thC, The Elliot Marbles, Madras 1858; Tripe L, Reliefs

Labels and date

‘Reliefs, Madras’
From the album ‘Photographs of the Elliot Marbles and other Subjects in the Central Museum Madras by Captain L. Tripe Government Photographer. 1858’ 1858

When Tripe arrived in Madras in April 1858 at the end
of his ‘wearying tour’ he spent almost three months
documenting the sculptures in the museum there. He was
disappointed with some of his photographs because of the
arrangement of objects and low light he had to work in,
explaining, ‘Many of the subjects being heavy masses, and
therefore not to be easily transported into the open air, were
taken as they were lying, in the rooms of the Museum’.

Albumen print from collodion on glass negative
V&A: 33:764 [24 June - 11 October 2015]






Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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