'Gate Of The Taj', c 1865.
© NMeM / Kodak Collection / Science & Society
A photograph of the Taj gateway, taken by Samuel Bourne. The gateway to the Taj Mahal was completed in 1648. Made from red sandstone, it is 30 metres tall and decorated with verses from the Koran. The purpose of this magnificent gateway was to prevent people seeing the Taj Mahal itself until they are inside the doorway so as to create maximum impact. Bourne, a pioneer of travel photography, began his working life as a bank clerk. ln 1863 he went to India where he established a studio in Simla, in partnership with Charles Shepherd. Between 1863 and 1870 he undertook several photographic expeditions, including trips to the Himalayas, producing a collection of landscape views unsurpassed in technical skill and compositional elegance. By 1870 the Bourne and Shepherd catalogue contained 2,000 views from all parts of the subcontinent.