ICONIC PHOTOS OF OVER A CENTURY AGO

In an earlier blog titled “Rana Court Photographers” I introduced two of the prolific photographers of their age plying their trade in the Indian Subcontinent based in their renowned studios in India. During the years 1868-71 A.D. Samuel Bourne was most active in Nepal. He was a partner with Charles Shepherd in the largest studio of its day Bourne & Shepherd Studios based at Calcutta. Then during the 1930’s there was Richard Gordon Matzene based in Simla who visited Nepal several times to take photographs.

There are two more famous studios that have done extensive work in Nepal making portraits, photographing royal hunts, temples, monuments and ethnic tribes of the Himalaya. The very renowned studio of Johnston & Hoffmann was opened at 22 Chowringee Lane in Calcutta in 1882 A.D. by Theodore Julius Hoffmann and Peter Arthur Johnston. This was the second largest enterprise in India after Bourne & Shepherd Studios. Although Johnston died in 1891 Hoffman was active until 1921 when he passed away. They opened branches in Darjeeling, Simla and Rangoon. They took some iconic photographs of the times in Sikkim, Darjeeling and in Nepal.
Limbu Woman with doko (wicker basket), Nepal, J&H
Nepalese beauty from Sikkim, J&H
Sons of C-in-C Dhir Shumsher, L to R, Dambar, Lalit, Bhim, Chandra, Fatteh & Rana, J&H 
Boy King Prithivi Bir Bikram Shah, circa 1886 A.D. by J&H
Queen of Nepal, a daughter of Maharajah Jung Bahadur Rana, by J&H

 

Herzog & Higgins photographic studio was owned by two Englishmen P. A. Herzog and P. Higgins. Both worked in the Johnston & Hoffman Studio before embarking on their own enterprise in 1894 based in Mhow in Central Province (Madhya Pradesh) and were active until 1921. They were commissioned to cover important occasions such as the Indian Durbar organized in honour of the visit of King George V to India in 1911 and many royal hunts including the tiger hunts in Nepal organized for King George V during the time of Maharajah Chandra Shumsher and for Viceroy Lord Curzon a decade earlier shortly after Maharajah Dev Shumsher assumed office.

Herzog and Higgins Studio office in Mhow, Central Province
King George V and Maharajah Chandra Shumsher in Nepal shikar camp, 1911 A.D., H&H

 

Viceroy Lord Curzon with Colonel Harkha Jung Thapa (hat under arms), grandson of Maharajah Jung Bahadur Rana from his daughter, organizer of the hunt at shikar camp in Nepal, 1901 A.D., H&H

 

Rare photo of Maharajah Chandra Shumsher without a head dress, H&H
These photographers helped introduce Nepal in the world stage at a time when very few people knew about us. This is my tribute to them!

Comments

What Next?

Recent Articles