DE LA GRANGE (ALEXIS) An album of 49 architectural views of key locations around India's northern interior, [c.1849-1850]
Lot 104
DE LA GRANGE (ALEXIS) An album of 49 architectural views of major sites in northern India, most of which are mughal, [c.1849-1851]
Sold for £63,650 (US$ 106,984) inc. premium
Lot Details
An album of 49 architectural views of major sites in India, most of which are mughal, albumen prints from paper negatives, mounted one per page on recto only, captioned in a contemporary French hand on the mounts, presumably that of the photographer, images typically 180 x 218mm. or slightly smaller, bookplate of Le Mis. De Champagné-Giffart, red morocco, "Photographies de l'inde Anglaise" in gilt on upper cover, rubbed, oblong folio (315 x 355mm.), [c.1849-1850]



    Born to an aristocratic French family in 1825 (the son of an army colonel, Baron Prosper Amauri Louis, who was an officer of the Ordre national de la Légion d'honneur), de la Grange studied in Paris before serving in the naval artillery from 1844 to 1847. In 1849, and following military service, he embarked upon a two year trip to India, Ceylon, Java, Malaysia and Singapore. He travelled with his statesman cousin, Felix Lambrecht, who detailed the trip in his book Souvenirs (1873).

    De la Grange's superb images predate those taken during the British government's photographic surveys, and those by the acknowledged early masters of travel photography, such as Tripe, Biggs, Pigou and Neill. De la Grange apparently took his photographs, less than 70 of which are known to have survived, for his own pleasure rather than a specific commission, but he was seemingly connected with some of the pioneers in the medium, having taught Maxine du Camp his techniques.

    In 1851 de la Grange returned to France where he is known to have assembled two albums, both entitled "Photographies de l'inde Anglaise". One, containing 61 images and manuscript notes by the photographer, was dedicated to the politician and historian Adolphe Thiers, a friend of Felix Lambrecht. The second album, now at the Canadian Centre for Architecture, contains 48 images. The present previously unrecorded album, presumably given to the Marquis Champagné-Giffart, is therefore a significant addition. Five of de la Grange's photographs were included in Blanquart-Evrard's first published collection of photographs, L'Album photographique de l'artiste et de l'amateur in 1851, but no further photographs can be attributed to him after this date.

    After his return to Europe he entered politics, before retiring to his chateau in Seborg. He died in February 1917.

    Images include: Benares: an English hotel bungalow, captioned 'specimen du habitation anglaise au Bengale' in the neo-classical style (4); Mirzapur: a temple (1); 'Palais de Dig' (1); Fatehpur Sikri: the Grand Mosque and tombs (3); Agra: the marble pavilion of Shah Jehan, the entry gate to the Taj, a general view of the Taj, a detail of the Taj, the Taj mosque and three views of Emperor Akbar's tomb (8); Sikandra: a view of the gate to the garden of Akbar's tomb, another view of the entrance to the garden, two general views of the tomb, and the entrance to the tomb itself (5); Delhi: the Grand Mosque, two views of a tomb, a view of the Tomb of Humayun, Qutb Minar, and a view of the ruins of Quwwat-ul-Islam (Qutb Mosque) (7); Lucknow: two general views, and a view of the Grand Mosque (3); Ajmer: the entrance to the Fort, and detail views of two houses (3): ?Oudjin: the pavillion of a palace, presumed to be the Red Palace at Jaipur, a detail of this palace, a house, and a view of a Muslim cemetery (4); Udaipur: the palace, and three views of a Hindu temple (4); Chittor: three view of a Hindu temple (3); Mundleysir: a Hindu temple (1); Adjunta: a view of the exterior of the Chaitya Cave (1); Ellora: two views of the caves (2).

    Provenance: Champagné-Giffart (bookplate); Henri Pierre Briere (1897-1990), and thence by descent to the current owner.
  1. Luke Batterham
    Specialist - Books, Maps, Manuscripts and Historical Photographs
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