Lot Number 211
Year Published 1855
Place Printed
Printed By
Description VIEWS OF BURMA. (NEGATIVES MADE AUGUST-NOVEMBER 1855; PRINTS MADE BY 21ST FEBRUARY 1857) 120 albumen prints from waxed paper negatives (average 260 x 349mm., or the reverse), including two 2-part folding panoramas (252 x 584mm.), nearly all signed by Tripe in the image in ink, individually mounted on card (455 x 585mm.), each mount with Tripe's "By Thee I Draw" blindstamp (Dewan p.141, fig.1), and numbered letterpress caption (nos. 64, 76, 79 and 99 numbered by hand), no.117 with additional description added by hand, preserved loose (as issued) in the original blue cloth portfolio case, 3 portfolio flaps with a mounted lithographed plan after Henry Yule of the Ananda, Gauda-palen and Thapinyu Temples at Pugahm Myo (with corrected overslips), the fourth flap with a printed note signed by Tripe in ink and dated 'Bangalore, 21st Febr / [18]57,' no.2 slightly dust-soiled, corner of mount of no.48 creased (not affecting image), left panel of one panorama (no.105) detached (but present), portfolio rather faded and worn
Comments Dewan, J. The Photographs of Linnaeus Tripe. A Catalogue Raisonné. (Toronto: Art Gallery of Ontario, 2003); Taylor, R. Impressed by Light: British Photographs from Paper Negatives, 1840-1860 (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; National Gallery of Art, Washington; Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2007) CATALOGUE NOTE An exceptionally rare complete set of Tripe's published photographs of Burma, the prints overall in fine condition, preserved in the original portfolio, and signed and dated by Tripe. This set was presented to the Governor General of India who sent Tripe as part of the Mission to Ava in Burma. Only one other complete set in its original portfolio is recorded. In April 1855 Lord Dalhousie, the Governor-General of India, recommended that a political trip to Amerapoora (Amarapura), Burma, take place following the annexation of Pengu (Bago), part of Burma, by the British after the 1852 Anglo-Burmese war. Colesworthy Grant, a Calcutta artist, was due to accompany the group, but it was decided that a photographer should also go, as photography was considered a more suitable medium for accurate documentation, and Grant was not skilled in photography. The Court of Directors in London drew up an 1855 directive claiming "photography as a means by which representations may be obtained of scenes and buildings, with the advantages of perfect accuracy, small expenditure of time, and moderate cash." They asked that photography be the main means of recording architecture and so Lord Dalhousie appointed Tripe as an 'Artist in Photography' to accompany the delegation. Between August and November 1855 Tripe photographed the architecture and landscape of Prome, Thayet Myo, Yenan- gyoung, Tantabeng, Pugahm Myo, Tsagain Myo, Ava, Amerapoora, Mengoon and Rangoon. These were the first photographs Tripe took on behalf of the British government and transformed his skills from a highly competent amateur into a professional photographer. "By the time he had returned to Bangalore at the end of his three month trip he had made more than 200 negatives under testing circumstances of climate and location, as well as of his own photographic naïvety. His surviving negatives bear witness to difficulties with overexposure and wayward chemicals" (Taylor, p.130). Tripe's Views of Burma were well received and in 1856 he was appointed as official photographer to the Madras Presidency. Fifty sets of these 120 photographs were originally produced, of which only 7 sets of varying completeness are recorded by Dewan and of these only one other set is complete in its original portfolio, preserved in the British Library. 'Few photographers in the calotype era came close to matching the sustained output of [McCosh, Murray and Tripe], and in visual sensitivity and technical bravado they remain unequalled' (Taylor, p.131). For additional images and information see, or contact the Book Department.
Provenance Presented to James Broun-Ramsay, 1st Marquess of Dalhousie (1812-1860), Governor-General of India (1848-1856); thence by descent to the present owner
Estimated Price GBP 150,000.00 - 200,000.00
( USD 250,500.00 - 334,000.00 )
Actual Price GBP 277,250.00 ( USD 446,372.50 )



Auction House Sothebys
Auction Name Travel, Atlases, Maps & Natural History
Sale Number #L12401
Auction Date May 9, 2012 - May 9, 2012
Book Images