Friday, November 10, 2006
Last evening, I stumbled upon the British Library's collection of images Svadesh videsh: home from home. What a delight!
Begun by the East India Company in 1801, this fascinating survey of the landscape and architectural heritage of South Asia spans the late-18th to mid-20th centuries. The collection is curated by John Falconer (Curator, Photographs, India Office Collection), who has also written an introduction.
This is a photograph of the monumental Brihadishvara Temple at Thanjavur (Tamil Nadu), the most impressive architectural achievement of the Chola era. The great king Rajaraja I founded construction of the temple around 1010.
The photographer was Edmund David Lyon, who was Governor of Dublin District Prison (Military), 1854-56, and later worked as a professional photographer in India, with a studio in Ootacamund. From 1867-1868 he was commissioned by the Madras and Bombay Governments to photograph archaeological and architectural antiquities and produced an extensive documentary record of South Indian architecture.
Read the curator's introduction here.
View the entire collection here.