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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Charles Waterloo Hutchinson

Dates:  1824 - 1890
Born:  Scotland
Died:  Great Britain, London
Active:  India

Preparing biographies

Approved biography for Charles Waterloo Hutchinson
Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, USA)

Born in Scotland, the son of a major in the Bengal Native Infantry, General Hutchinson was educated at the College for Civil Engineers, Putney, and joined the Bengal Engineers in 1843. Although he saw some military action, including the 1857 mutiny, Hutchinson primarily supervised the building of roads and canals, providing him with ample opportunities for travel within India. When Hutchinson first took up photography is not known, but in 1857 he wrote to the Photographic Society of Bengal that he was returning from a campaign in the hills with forty large paper negatives. The society’s council was obviously already familiar with his work, calling him “one of their best photographers at Lahore.” None of Hutchinson’s work is known to have survived, but an engraving based on one of his photographs is reproduced in J. Cave-Browne’s The Punjab and Delhi in 1857 (1861). Hutchinson continued in service in India until at least 1873 and died in London. 
Roger Taylor & Larry J. Schaaf Impressed by Light: British Photographs from Paper Negatives, 1840-1860 (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2007) 
This biography is courtesy and copyright of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and is included here with permission. 
Date last updated: 4 Nov 2012. 
We welcome institutions and scholars willing to test the sharing of biographies for the benefit of the photo-history community. The biography above is a part of this trial.
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John Falconer, British Library 
A Biographical Dictionary of 19th Century Photographers in South and South-East Asia

Amateur, India
Family: Son of Major Thomas Frederick Hutchinson, 20th Bengal Native Infantry and Isabella Hepburn Mitchelson Hutchinson. Baptised Meerut 1 Jan 1825.[1]
Professional: Bengal Engineers 1843-85; 2nd Lieut, 1846; Lieut, 1847; Capt, 1857. Joined Public Works Department Nov 1844; Assistant Engineer, Benares Road Jan 1845; Executive Engineer, Ganges Canal 1850; Superintendent, 6th Division, Ganges Canal 1852; Assistant to Chief Engineer, Lahore Feb 1856; Superintending Engineer, Lahore, Jul 1859; Chief Engineer and Secretary to Chief Commissioner, Oudh, Feb 1865 to 1868; Officiating Chief Engineer and Secretary to Government, N.W. Provinces, Dec 1870; Inspector-General of Military Works, and acted as Deputy Secretary, Government of India, Buildings and Roads 1871-73. War Services: Sutlej 1845-46; Mutiny 1857.
Photographic: In a letter of 1857 to the Photographic Society of Bengal he writes that he has just returned from campaigning in the hills with 40 good photographs, 15x12 inches, and that he intends to send down copies for the society’s exhibition, these then to be sold in aid of the Kangra mission and other charitable purposes. The frontispiece engraving in Rev. J. Cave-Browne, The Punjab and Delhi in 1857 (Blackwood, Edinburgh and London, 1861) is reproduced from a photograph by Hutchinson.
The report of the 1857 exhibition of the Photographic Society of Bengal mentions Hutchinson’s work and indicates that he was already by that time an experienced photographer:
The Council were much disappointed in not receiving from one of their best photographers at Lahore, Captain Hutchinson a large series of views from that part of India which he had promised.
Although these views had been taken and it is believed printed from the paper negatives, circumstances have prevented their arriving in time for the exhibition, but they as well as many others which it is known are in course of preparation by other talented photographers, will, it is hoped, grace the walls of the Society’s exhibition next year.[2]

  1. Λ Bengal Baptisms, N/1/13 f. 477. 
  2. Λ Journal of the Photographic Society of Bengal, no. 3, 20 May 1857, p. 67. 

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