Monday’s Inspiration – Captain Linnaeus Tripe

Captain Linnaeus Tripe  was a British photographer and between 1854 and 1860, Tripe produced an unprecedented series of photographs documenting the landscape and cultural artefacts of south India and Burma. As an officer in the British army, he traveled with diplomatic expeditions, creating a visual inventory of celebrated archaeological sites and monuments, religious and secular buildings—some now destroyed—as well as geological formations and scenic vistas. His training as a military surveyor, where the choice of viewpoint and careful attention to visual details were essential, gave his photographs a striking aesthetic rigour that distinguishes them from the picturesque travel views characteristic of the period.

In March 1857 he became official photographer to the Madras government, taking photographs of objects shown at the Madras exhibition and portraits of Madras residents. In 1858, he took photographs of subjects of architectural or antiquarian interest, and pictures useful from a practical, engineering perspective. He exhibited 50 photographs from this tour in the annual exhibition of the Photographic Society of Madras in 1859. In March 1862 a series of his photographs were exhibited by Professor Archer at a meeting of the Photographic Society showing ‘Poodoocotah, Madura, Ruakotta, Seringham, the Elliot Marbles, &c., &c.’ 

Following the Indian Rebellion, control of India went to the British and in June 1859 Tripe was ordered not to undertake any new work. At the end of that year he was told to close the business and sell off the equipment.

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