Biography: 19th Century photographer Samuel Bourne

Biography: 19th Century photographer Samuel Bourne


Samuel Bourne (1834 – 1912) was a British photographer known for his prolific seven years’ work in India, from 1863 to 1870.

His name is synonymous with British-Indian photography and he is the most researched and acclaimed colonial photographer. His work gave birth to a studio, Bourne & Shepherd, which still operates in Calcutta. Bourne’s photographs posses a luminescent quality that exemplifies classic Raj photography though ironically he only spent six years in India. Upon his arrival in Calcutta in 1863 he brought with him the chemicals to make albumen photographs; newly invented, they were the first easily mass reproducible photographs. Newspaper advertising contributed to the prosperity of Bourne photography as is allowed him to sell his work to widely dispersed collectors. Bourne died in Nottingham England in 1912.

Photograph of the Taj Mahal from the river, Agra, taken by Samuel Bourne in the 1860s.

Photograph of the Taj Mahal from the river, Agra, taken by Samuel Bourne in the 1860s.

A distant view of the Jami Masjid, Delhi, taken by Samuel Bourne in the 1860s.

A distant view of the Jami Masjid, Delhi, taken by Samuel Bourne in the 1860s.

The Bengal Club, Calcutta, 1865. by Samuel Bourne

A group of people bathing at Kalighat near boats on river and ashore. Suspension bridge in the distance.

A group of people bathing at Kalighat near boats on river and ashore. Suspension bridge in the distance. by Samuel Bourne

circa 1875s

circa 1875s by Samuel Bourne

Chini and its mountains, 1866.

Chini and its mountains, 1866. by Samuel Bourne

A studio photo of Dancing Girl by Samuel Bourne

A studio photo of Dancing Girl by Samuel Bourne

Gothic ruin with creepers in Barrackpore Park, 1865.

Gothic ruin with creepers in Barrackpore Park, 1865. by Samuel Bourne

Hunters and Trophies, India, 1860s.

Hunters and Trophies, India, 1860s. by Samuel Bourne

Nautch girls, Kashmir, 1870s.

Nautch girls, Kashmir, 1870s. by Samuel Bourne

Shipping from Hastings Bridge (Calcutta), ship 'Bombay' & S.S. 'Mauritius, 1865.

Shipping from Hastings Bridge (Calcutta), ship ‘Bombay’ & S.S. ‘Mauritius, 1865. by Samuel Bourne

Distant view of the great mosque of Aurungzebe and adjoining Ghats Benares by Samuel Bourne, 1865

Distant view of the great mosque of Aurungzebe and adjoining Ghats Benares by Samuel Bourne, 1865

Photograph of Toda mund (hamlet) and barrel-vaulted houses in the Nilgiri Hills in Tamil Nadu. Samuel Bourne, 1869.

Photograph of Toda mund (hamlet) and barrel-vaulted houses in the Nilgiri Hills in Tamil Nadu. Samuel Bourne, 1869.


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