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HomeContents > People > Photographers > John Henry Ravenshaw

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Other: J.H. Ravenshaw 
Dates:  1833, 21 January - 1874, 4 March
Born:  England, Surrey, Richmond
Died:  Mentone
Active:  India
Photographer active in India in the nineteenth century.

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Portrait of John Henry Ravenshaw. 
Family history 
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John Falconer, British Library 
A Biographical Dictionary of 19th Century Photographers in South and South-East Asia

Amateur, India
Son of John Hurdis Ravenshaw, Bombay Civil Service, and Rose Melly Ravenshaw, of Marsh Gate, Richmond; baptised, Mortlake, 6 Mar 1833; Haileybury, 1850;[1] Magistrate and Collector, Bengal 1870s. Married Caroline Rebecca. Died: 4 Mar 1874.[2]
Exhibited views at Bengal Photographic Society Exhibition of 1864 and won a silver medal for a series of views around Darjeeling at the 1872 exhibition (British Journal of photography, 22 Mar 1872, pp.135-8). 45 of his fine architectural views are reproduced in woodburytype in his Gaur: its ruins and inscriptions (1878). Ravenshaw had died before the publication of this volume, which was seen through the press by his widow Caroline, who describes her editorial work in the introduction:
It had long been the wish of my late husband, Mr J.H. Ravenshaw, of the Bengal Civil Service, to publish the photographs which the Woodbury Company have here assisted me to reproduce. Stationed for some years at Maldah as Magistrate and Collector, he had the opportunity of exploring at leisure the still extant remains of the old capital of Bengal, and of photographing such of these as were the most prominent and best preserved. Some of his pictures will doubtless be familiar to my friends as having attracted admiration at Photographic Exhibitions in Calcutta and elsewhere.
At the beginning of 1867 Mr Ravenshaw took furlough to England, where he revised the descriptive notes which he had made as he examined the ruins, and threw them together in the form which I have followed in this publication; but beyond printing a few copies of his arranged text, he took no steps till his return to India in 1870. The Archaeological Survey of India had then been organized by Major-General Cunningham, and Mr Ravenshaw reckoned on official assistance in carrying out his undertaking. Some correspondence with the Government ensued, in which it was proposed to publish selections from Mr Ravenshaw’s photographs, with extracts from the letterpress, in the reports of the Survey. To this selection my husband demurred, and the correspondence was still proceeding when his death occurred in 1874. After some deliberation and consultation with friends, I determined to publish the work myself, on the plan projected by my husband.
Among the friends to whom I am perhaps most indebted for the advice and assistance which were necessary to enable me to carry out my resolution, was Mr Grote, one of the Vice-Presidents of the Royal Asiatic Society. He showed me that much of Mr Ravenshaw’s letterpress had become obsolete, by the publication in the Bengal Society’s Journal of Mr Blochmann’s valuable series of historical papers. The text, too, of the inscriptions copied for Mr Ravenshaw and translated in his narrative, required careful verification; and as rubbins of all these were now to be obtained in Calcutta, he advised my including in my work the series of facsimiles, which have since been so beautifully photozincographed by Major Waterhouse, R.A., of the Surveyor General’s Office in Calcutta…
The result of giving effect to these suggestions has been, I trust, to add to the historical value of my late husband’s work…
[IOR/J/1/79 f. 103-110; Bengal Index to Inventories Z/L/AG/34/14] 

  1. Λ Haileybury Records IOR/J/1/79 f. 106. 
  2. Λ Bengal Wills, IOR/L/AG/34/29/119. 

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