Fascinating collection

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A REMARKABLE collection of photographs collected by a Victorian businessman has gone on display at Horsham Museum.

The incredibly delicate photographs, whose survival has occurred only because so few people have seen them, have been digitally copied and are on display in the Causeway museum’s new photographic display ‘Indian Summer’.

The images on show range from the grand architecture for which the continent is known, through to the scenes of everyday workmen.

Pam French, at the museum, said: “These images though show an India pre Edwin Lutyen’s, an India whose own striking architecture inspired and challenged Britain’s own idea of Imperial splendour.

“The images date from around 1865 to 70, at a time when India’s past and its culture provided a rich fascination for the English. This fascination would culminate in 1876 when Queen Victoria would be proclaimed Empress of India and continue through to the 1920s with the inspiration for Wembley.’’

The photographs were collected by Robert Henderson, who lived at Sedgwick Park, near Horsham. He undertook a tour of the country in January through to July 1874, before travelling to the rest of Asia and America, looking at his business interests.

Some of the photographs were taken by the celebrated photographer Samuel Bourne whose photographs were described at the time as having a ‘luminescent quality’.

His work gave birth to a studio, Bourne and Shepherd, which still operates in Calcutta. As Samuel Bourne operated in India between 1863 and 1870 it is more than likely that Robert Henderson collected the prints from the studio itself.

Several of the mementos the Hendersons collected on this tour were later given to the museum and may be seen on the first floor.

The exhibition runs to April 2.