Rural Life in Bengal

This photograph was taken by Samuel Bourne (1834-1912) in about 1870.

Born in Staffordshire, 1834, Samuel Bourne’s photographic activities began as a hobby. However he quickly established himself as an accomplished landscape photographer. In 1863 Samuel Bourne travelled to India. He remained there for seven years, embarking on three successive photographic expeditions to the Himalayas. By the time he left he had produced over 25,000 photographs. He had co-founded the ‘Bourne & Shepherd’ studios with Charles Shepherd. The studios became one of India’s most successful commercial studios in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Bourne is a highly praised colonial photographer. His technical ability, particularly the clarity and depth of his prints, was admired by his contemporaries. Bourne’s images are considered some of the finest examples of 19th-century travel photography, with his picturesque views of India presenting the subcontinent through British eyes.

The photograph is an albumen print. This process was invented in the 1850s and was most commonly used in the late nineteenth century. The surface of the print is glossy and smooth due to the paper being coated with albumen (egg white).

Object Summary

Accession Loan No.
Collection Class
Collection Area Region
South Asia
Collector Excavator
Jackson, Mr John Reader (from the collection of)
Photographic paper on Mountboard
Common Name
Rural Life in Bengal
Simple Name
Period Classification
Victorian (1837-1901)
Production Date
Production Person Initials
Production Person Surname
Bourne; Bourne & Shepherd

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Rural Life in Bengal