EQUISITE PORTRAIT OF A BRITISH SOLDIER IN INDIA BY THE WELL RESPECTED STUDIO OF BOURNE AND SHEPERD


This cabinet card portrait features a uniformed British soldier in India. At least that is the opinion of the previous owner of this photograph. For all I know, this may be a photograph of a French soldier in France. Hopefully, one of Cabinet Cards Gallery’s  visitors, knowledgeable about military history and uniforms, will be able to tell us with certainty which nation’s army this gentleman represents.  The photographer of this crisp, clear, and riveting image is the Bourne & Sheperd studio. The Bourne & Sheperd studio was established in 1863. It is the oldest photographic studio still in operation. It was the most successful commercial firm in 19th and early 20th century India and it had outlets in Paris and London as well as a mail-order service. Samuel Bourne came to India in 1863 and partnered with an established Calcutta photographer. Charles Sheperd had partnered with a photographer in Agra in 1862. The two men joined forces in Shimla. Among his accomplishments, Bourne  was known for his photographic expeditions to the Himalayans and Kashmir. He became celebrated as one of India’s best photographers. While Bourne was off making himself famous, Sheperd wasn’t just sitting home eating curried chicken and naan. Sheperd became known as a master printer. The partners opened a studio in Calcutta which became their flagship. They became the photographers of Indian Royalty and the British elite. In 1870 Bourne went back to England and opened a cotton mill and became a magistrate. In 1879 Sheperd returned to England. The partners continued to operate the Indian studios with continued success for a number of years. Since then, the studio has had multiple owners.