A fine and comprehensive album comprising views, landscapes and architectural studies from all over India including Calcutta, Benares, Cawnpore, Lucknow, Delhi, Nynee Tal, Agra, Fatehpur Sikri, Kashmir, Darjeeling, Trichinopoly and Simla. Individual subjects include a village in Bengal; a butcher's shop with cattle waiting for slaughter; the Cawnpore memorial statue; the Bailey Guard, the Kaiser Bagh, 'the Great Emambara etc. Lucknow'; 'the Jamma Musjid and the Cashmere Gate'. Also including two views of the Kootub Minar near Delhi; two of the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, a view of Akbar's Palace in the fort with the Taj Mahal visible in the distance; the Mausoleum of Akbar in Secundra; sixteen mountain and river views around Kashmir including a fine example of the Poplar Avenue (illus.); the Chandra river; Mussorree from near the Club; a waterfall scene at Nilghirrie; the Rock of Trichinopoly; the Great Pagoda in Tanjore and five Simlan views including two snow scenes.
Samuel Bourne (1834-1912) was one of the greatest of English nineteenth century topographical photographers. He travelled to India in 1863, arriving in Calcutta in mid-January. From there he sent what was to be the first of a long series of articles to be published in the British Journal of Photography, describing the trials and successes of a photographer in India. From Calcutta he set off on a 1200-mile journey to Simla, and in July of that year he began his first major trek through the Himalayas accompanied by thirty Indian men who were responsible for carrying the cameras, glass plates and processing equipment required. Bourne used the wet collodion process which was most capable of producing the finely detailed negatives he favoured, but which required the heaviest equipment and was the most labour-intensive process to use in the field.
He went into business with his partner, Howard, in Simla in 1864 and later the same year Charles Shepherd joined the company. Bourne continued to travel and photograph while Shepherd concentrated on printing and running the business. Bourne worked as a photographer in India over a seven year period, during which time his photographs from all parts of the country were available for sale in India and through book or printsellers in Europe. He exhibited regularly and continued to send examples of his work for exhibition in England, frequently winning awards and commendations.