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HomeContents > People > Photographers > James Waterhouse

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Other: James S. Waterhouse 
Other: Lieutenant J. Waterhouse 
Other: Lt. James Waterhouse R.A. 
Dates:  1842, 24 July - 1922, 28 September
Born:  England, London
Died:  England, Eltham
Active:  India
Officer in the Royal Artillery. His albumen plates were used to illustrate James Fergusson, "Tree and Serpent Worship" (London: India Museum, W.H. Allen & Co., publishers to the India Office, 1873).

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John Falconer, British Library 
A Biographical Dictionary of 19th Century Photographers in South and South-East Asia

Professional, India
Royal (Bengal) Artillery 1859-97.
Son of James William (solicitor) and Helen Waterhouse of 14 Grove End Road, London; baptised at St Marlebone’s, 5 Oct 1848; educated King’s College and University College School; Addiscombe; 2nd Lieutenant, Bengal Artillery, 10.6.1859; special duty in Foreign Department, 15 Nov 1861-21 Dec 1862; Commissary of Ordnance, Allahabad, 21 Dec 1862; Assistant Revenue Surveyor, Lower Provinces, 27.6.1866; Joined Survey Department as Assistant Surveyor, attached to Surveyor-General’s Office, Calcutta and Dehra Dun, in charge of photo-zincography office, 22.7.1866; Assistant Surveyor, Calcutta, 17.2.1869; on duty with Indian Eclipse Expedition, 21 Nov 1871-8.1.1872; Assistant Surveyor-General, Calcutta, 1.4.1874; on duty for observing the transit of Venus, 10 Oct 1874-1.1.1875; officer in charge of Indian Eclipse Expedition, Nicobar Islands, 11.3.1875-18.4.1875; Assistant Surveyor-General, Calcutta, 26.3.1875; on special duty in Europe, 10 Oct 1878-8 Nov 1878; 2 years furlough from 13 Dec 1879; Assistant Surveyor-General, in charge of Photo-Zincographic Office, Calcutta, 26 Dec 1881; Assistant Surveyor-General in charge of Photo-Litho Office, Survey of India, Calcutta, 17 Dec 1886. (IOR/V/12/3).
Active photographer from 1860s. Some of his photographs (including several portraits of the Begum of Bhopal) appear in The People of India (8 vols, 1868-75), J. Fergusson's Tree and serpent worship (1868). A series of his views of the December 1871 eclipse expedition to Ootacamund were shown at the Bengal Photographic Society exhibition of 1872.[1] Photographed the solar disk during the transit of Venus 1874, and author of Report on the operations connected with the observation of the total solar eclipse of April 6th 1875, at Camorta in the Nicobar Islands (Calcutta, 1875), illustrated with original photographs. Responsible for numerous technical advances in photography, particularly relating to reproduction techniques. Author of Report on the cartographic applications of photography (1870). President of the Photographic Society of India, 1894-7.
Author, The application of photography to the reproduction of maps and plans (Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, vol. XLVII, 1878, part 2, pp. 53-124). An Indian Photographer on the Continent (British Journal of Photography, April 29 1870, pp. 196-7, May 6 1870, pp. 208-9, May 13 1870, pp. 222-3, May 20 1870, pp. 235-6, June 3 1870, pp. 256-7); Practical notes on the preparation of drawings for photographic reproduction (Calcutta, 1890); Report on the United States Government Surveys (1906).
In response for requests for ethnographical photographs for the London Exhibition of 1862, W.C. Erskine, Commissioner of Jabalpur, informs the Secretary to the Government of the North-West Provinces that,
‘Captain Browne, Deputy Commisioner of Saugor, has obtained promise of assistance from Lieutenants Gowan and Waterhouse, who work together. He informs me that they have lately returned from Bhopal, and executed many photographs of the beautiful ruins near Bhilsa.’ [2]
Views of new darkrooms and studios in Survey of India Headquarters at Calcutta in report of 1888-89.[3]
Waterhouse also contributed articles to the journal of the Photographic Society of India: Notes on some new rapid orthchromatic collodio-bromide emulsion processes. ‘Gelatine dry plates have now taken such a hold on the photographic world that it would be almost useless to expect any general return to collodion whatever its advantages might be … There are, however, many photographic operations in which certain qualities are required in the negative or transparency, which are far better obtainable with collodion than with gelatine, and this is the case with most of the copying processes used for the reproduction of drawings and works of art in line or half-tone. Here, in Calcutta, we are obliged to use the old wet collodion process for all our copying work in the Survey of India Office…’[4] Goes on to describe his experiments with orthochromatic collodion emulsions, shown to him by Dr E. Albert in Munich in 1891.
His lecture to the Royal photographic Society, entitled Photo-mechanical printing in connection with the Survey of India, was also printed in the Journal of the Photographic Society of India in 1898.[5]
IOR/L/MIL/9/242 ff.65-74; IOR/L/MIL/10/79 f. 76; IOR/L/MIL/10/90 f. 312; IOR/L/MIL/10/96 f. 263; IOR/L/MIL/10/101 f. 110.
See: Who was Who entry. 

  1. Λ British Journal of Photography, 22 March 1872. 
  2. Λ Letter of 5 Aug 1861, General proceedings, North-West Provinces, IOR/P/216/8/, December 1861, p.106. 
  3. Λ IOR/V/24/3987. 
  4. Λ Journal of the Photographic Society of India, vol 5, no. 2, February 1892 (Calcutta, 1892), pp. 20-25. 
  5. Λ Journal of the Photographic Society of India, vol. 11, no. 4, April 1898 (Calcutta, 1898), pp. 82-83 and vol. 11, no. 5, May 1898 (Calcutta, 1898), pp. 103-106. 

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