Tanjore. Great Pagoda, Entrance Looking Outwards

Linnaeus TripeMarch/April 1858

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Houston, United States

One of the first photographers appointed by the British government, Linnaeus Tripe was enlisted to document historic buildings and religious temples. From March to April 1858, Tripe photographed Thanjavur’s renowned “Great Pagoda,” the Rajaraesvara temple that is one of South India’s greatest Chola temple complexes. Tripe’s dramatic compositions and painted-in skies enhance the natural beauty of the 11th-century structure. The British considered themselves stewards of India’s monuments following the assumption of Crown rule in 1858, and pictures such as Tripe’s were published with text suggesting that under colonial control “a brighter day has already dawned in India.”


  • Title: Tanjore. Great Pagoda, Entrance Looking Outwards
  • Creator: Linnaeus Tripe
  • Creator Lifespan: 1822 - 1902
  • Creator Nationality: British
  • Creator Gender: Male
  • Date: March/April 1858
  • Physical Dimensions: w34.8 x h26.5 cm (sheet)
  • Type: Photographs
  • External Link: MFAH
  • Medium: Albumen silver print from paper negative
  • Credit Line: The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, The Manfred Heiting Collection

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