Lt. Col. Henry Dixon Views in Mysore: Temple of Belaru (entrance)
Medium Albumen print from wet plate negative
Mount on original mount
Photo Date 1862-65 Print Date 1865
Dimensions 13-9/16 x 9-5/8 in. (346 x 245 mm)
Photo Country India
Photographer Country United Kingdom (UK)
Contact Alex Novak and Marthe Smith
About This Image
With printed photographer's credit and title.
Henry Dixon was born on March 29, 1824, the oldest child and only son of Captain William Dixon, Royal Artillery and the Noble Signorina Cecilia Pierina Gironci, of Corfu, in Naples.
He was appointed (i.e.enrolled) at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, on August 19, 1839, aged 15, all set to become an artilleryman like his father. He was examined on September 3, 1840, but failed, and discharged on Sept. 22, 1840. This was a blow, but the young candidate's uncle, the Rev. Henry Dixon of Ferring, recommended him to the East India Company, where he was sponsored by Martin Tucker Smith, one of the company's directors.
In addition to his soldiering duties, Dixon was very involved in the relatively new art form of photography. His shots of temples and caves were exhibited, to critical acclaim, at the Bengal Photographic Society meetings of January 19 and March 24, 1859. His photos were also shown at the Madras Exhibition that year.
By 1860 he was back in England, wrapping up his late father's estate and moving into 8 Park End, Sydenham, Kent, with his wife and children and his manservant Shaik Sillar, and the childrens' ayah, Manoo Bee. On April 29, 1861 his sensitized photographic plate was patented in London. He had been working on this with inventor Thomas Sutton, at Kings College, London. At the London Exhibition of 1862 20 of his temple photographs were shown.
In 1865 he produced a portfolio of views of Mysore copper inscriptions, which had been commissioned by the Mysore government. One of the patrons of this work was His Highness the Maharajah of Mysore.
On Sept. 12, 1866 Henry was promoted to major, and in 1867 his photographic work was shown at the Paris Exhibition. That year Catherine Eliza and the family returned to England, and set up at Warwick House, in Sydenham Park, Kent. Henry followed in early 1869, having stayed behind in Madras to oversee the publication of his album of ten photos of temples at Conjeevaram.
In 1870, by now a lieutenant-colonel, he inherited his uncle Henry's estate. He retired on April 18, 1872. Dixon drew up his will on Jan. 28, 1882 and died suddenly on March 16, 1883 at 4 Brooklyn-road, Shepherd's-bush. He left his photographic equipment to his son.
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