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HomeContents > People > Photographers > John Burnie Dickson

Dates:  1806 - 1884
Active:  India / Burma

Preparing biographies

Approved biography for John Burnie Dickson
Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, USA)

Born in Scotland, Dickson entered the Indian Medical Service (Bengal) in 1825, rising to the rank of surgeon by 1845. He saw service in both the First Sikh War and the Indian Mutiny. By 1862 Dickson had become inspector general of hospitals, a position he held until he retired to London two years later. Dickson joined the Photographic Society of Bengal in 1856, showing a portfolio of portraits and copies of paintings photographed in Gustave Le Gray’s waxed-paper process. He collaborated with Lieutenant Alexander Simpson in photographically copying paintings for the geologist Sir Henry Yule’s A Narrative of the Mission Sent by the Governor-General of India to the Court of Ava in 1855, a major contribution to Burmese historical studies. No other photographs by him are known to have survived. 
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.
If you find any errors please email us details so they can be corrected as soon as possible.

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

Amateur, India
Bengal Medical Service
Surgeon on the Winchelsea, 1825-27; Assistant Surgeon 26 Feb 1828; Surgeon, 1 Jan 1845; Deputy Inspector General 30 Jul 1858; Inspector General, 25 Apr 1862; retired, 31 Mar 1864. Served in First Sikh or Sutlej War, 1845-6, Indian Mutiny, 1857-8.
Detailed list of services in IOR/L/MIL/10/73
Married Mary Pringle at Saugor, 15 Oct 1836.[1]
Joined Photographic Society of Bengal, 29 Oct 1856.[2] A portfolio of photographic copies of drawings was shown at a meeting of the society of 26 Nov 1856. Showed 24 photographs (portraits and copies of paintings) made by Le Grey’s process and Hardwicke’s citrate of silver process at the Photographic Society of Bengal Exhibition of March 1857.
With Alexander Simpson (qv) made the prints (copies of paintings) which appear in Yule’s Report of the Mission to Ava (Calcutta, 1856). 

  1. Λ IOR/N/1/45 f. 125. 
  2. Λ Journal of the Photographic Society of Bengal, no.2, 21 Jan 1857. 

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