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

In the first major exhibition of photographs by Captain Linnaeus Tripe (1822–1902), some 60 works will include early pictures he took in England as well as the outstanding body of work he produced in India and Burma (now Myanmar) in the 1850s. The exhibition has been co-curated by Professor Emeritus Roger Taylor.

Introduced to photography by those who saw it as a pastime, he recognized that it could be an effective tool for conveying information about unknown cultures. Under the auspices of the East India Company, he took many photographs of archaeological sites and monuments, ancient and contemporary religious and secular buildings, as well as geological formations and landscape vistas not seen before in the West. His military training gave his work a striking aesthetic and formal rigor and helped him achieve remarkably consistent results, despite the challenges that India’s heat and humidity posed to photographic chemistry.

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, it opens in Washing DC on 21 September 2014-4 January 2015; then travels to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 24 February-25 May, 2015 and Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 23 June–11 October, 2015.#

Image: Linnaeus Tripe, Madura: The Vygay River with Causeway, across to Madura, January–February 1858, albumen print, National Gallery of Art, Washington, The Carolyn Brody Fund and Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation through Robert and Joyce Menschel

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Comment by Margaret Rasor on November 29, 2014 at 22:21

I saw this exhibit, twice, at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. I highly recommend it to anyone who has the opportunity to see it. I am definitely interested in Ms. Dewan's book and seeing more of Tripe's amazing work.

Comment by Michael Pritchard on July 31, 2014 at 17:52

Yes, a good point and perhaps one that the NGA should be made aware of... Janet's publication was a landmark and I am sure the curators of this show will have acknowledged a debt to her work. For us in the UK it's so good to see the V&A bringing the show to London as we've had to travel to Europe or the States to see some major shows, not least Roger Taylor's Impressed by Light. 

Comment by Steven Evans on July 31, 2014 at 17:24
I'm delighted to see the announcement for the forthcoming exhibition about Linneaus Tripe. No doubt this long-awaited event and the associated publication will add considerable new knowledge about Tripe's career. I would like to, however, take the opportunity to set the record straight regarding Tripe's contemporary exhibition history. As a resident of Toronto, Canada, I take pride in the fact that the Art Gallery of Ontario presented the major exhibition “Linnaeus Tripe: Photographer of British India 1854-1870” in 1986-87. Curated by Janet Dewan and Maia-Mari Sutnik, the exhibition re-introduced the work of this pioneer photographer to the pubic with 73 prints tracing Tripe’s career in England, Burma (Myanmar) and South India. Subsequently in 2003, Janet Dewan’s “The Photographs of Linnaeus Tripe: A Catalogue Raisonné” , was published by the Art Gallery of Ontario, a landmark achievement of its kind.

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