Captain Linnaeus Tripe Photographer of India and Burma, 1852–1860

Captain Linnaeus Tripe Photographer of India and Burma, 1852–1860


This is the first major traveling exhibition devoted to the British photographer Captain Linnaeus Tripe (1822–1902). Between 1854 and 1860, Tripe produced an unprecedented series of photographs documenting the landscape and cultural artifacts of south India and Burma (now the Republic of Myanmar). With few models to follow, he developed a professional practice under the auspices of the British East India Company, the commercial enterprise governing the region as Great Britain’s imperial agent. As an officer in the British army, he traveled with diplomatic expeditions, creating a visual inventory of celebrated archaeological sites and monuments, religious and secular buildings—some now destroyed—as well as geological formations and scenic vistas. His training as a military surveyor, where the choice of viewpoint and careful attention to visual details were essential, gave his photographs a striking aesthetic rigor that distinguishes them from the picturesque travel views characteristic of the period.

This exhibition of approximately sixty photographs traces Tripe’s work from his earliest images made in England (1852–1854), to those created on expeditions to the south Indian kingdom of Mysore (1854), to Burma (1855), and again to south India (1857–1858). Using large-format wax paper negatives, he achieved remarkably consistent results despite the south Asian heat and humidity, which posed constant challenges to photographic chemistry. The comprehensive scope of his work offered its British audience a virtual tour through a foreign landscape, rendering it knowable and preserving sites already bearing traces of colonial rule.

Captain Linnaeus Tripe
Photographer of India and Burma, 1852–1860
February 24–May 25, 2015

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue
New York, New York 10028-0198
United States
www.metmuseum.org

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Pugahm Myo: Gauda-palen Pagoda Linnaeus Tripe (British, Devonport (Plymouth Dock) 1822–1902 Devonport) Date: August 20-24, 1855

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Royacottah: Gate of the Hill Fort Linnaeus Tripe (British, Devonport (Plymouth Dock) 1822–1902 Devonport) Date: December 1857-January 1858

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Seeringham: Great Pagoda, Munduppum inside Gateway Linnaeus Tripe (British, Devonport (Plymouth Dock) 1822–1902 Devonport) Date: 1858

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Between Chittumputty and Teramboor: Elephant Rock, End View Linnaeus Tripe (British, Devonport (Plymouth Dock) 1822–1902 Devonport) Date: January–February 1858

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Madura: Pillars in the Recessed Portico in the Roya Gopurum with the Base of One of the Four Sculptured Monoliths. Linnaeus Tripe (British, Devonport (Plymouth Dock) 1822–1902 Devonport) Date: January–March 1858

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Madura: West Front of the Roya Gopurum Linnaeus Tripe (British, Devonport (Plymouth Dock) 1822–1902 Devonport) Date: January–March 1858

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Madura: Trimul Naik’s Choultry, Side Veranda from West Linnaeus Tripe (British, Devonport (Plymouth Dock) 1822–1902 Devonport) Date: January–February 1858

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Madura: Trimul Naik’s Choultry, Center Nave from West End Linnaeus Tripe (British, Devonport (Plymouth Dock) 1822–1902 Devonport) Date: January–February 1858

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Madura: The Blackburn Testimonial Linnaeus Tripe (British, Devonport (Plymouth Dock) 1822–1902 Devonport) Date: January–February 1858

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Trimium: Fort, Interior Hold, with the Main Street Taken from the Top of the Gateway. Linnaeus Tripe (British, Devonport (Plymouth Dock) 1822–1902 Devonport) Date: 1858

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Tanjore: Great Pagoda, Figure Sculpted on the Side of the Inner Gopurum Linnaeus Tripe (British, Devonport (Plymouth Dock) 1822–1902 Devonport) Date: March–April 1858

Photo 955/(2)

Tanjore: Wrought Iron Gun on a Cavalier in the Fort Linnaeus Tripe (British, Devonport (Plymouth Dock) 1822–1902 Devonport) Date: March–April 1858

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Amerapoora: Colossal Statue of Gautama Close to the North End of the Wooden Bridge Linnaeus Tripe (British, Devonport (Plymouth Dock) 1822–1902 Devonport) Date: September 1–October 21, 1855

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Royacottah: Eedgah and Tomb Linnaeus Tripe (British, Devonport (Plymouth Dock) 1822–1902 Devonport) Date: December 1857–January 1858

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Rangoon: Signal Pagoda Linnaeus Tripe (British, Devonport (Plymouth Dock) 1822–1902 Devonport) Date: November 1855

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Lighthouse Breakwater Linnaeus Tripe (British, Devonport (Plymouth Dock) 1822–1902 Devonport) Date: 1852/54 or 1861/62

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Pugahm Myo: Carved Doorway in courtyard of Shwe Zeegong Pagoda Linnaeus Tripe (British, Devonport (Plymouth Dock) 1822–1902 Devonport) Date: August 20–24, 1855, or October 23, 1855

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Trichinopoly: Musjid of Nutter Owleah, From the Head of the Lane Leading to It Linnaeus Tripe (British, Devonport (Plymouth Dock) 1822–1902 Devonport) Date: January or April 1858


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