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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Colonel Horatio Biden

Names:
Other: Horatio Biden 
Dates:  1829, 27 July - 1908, 19 June
 
  

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

 
Amateur, India
Personal: Son of Christopher Biden (b. 31 Dec 1788; d. 25 Feb1858), E.I.Co.’s Maritime Service and Madras Civil Service (uncovenanted) and Harriett. For details of Christopher Biden, see biographical file in OIOC Reading Room. Baptised, Greenwich, 21 Aug 1829; educated at Christ’s Hospital, with F.H. Hutton and at Addiscombe 1843-44. Married Susan (b. 31 Oct 1840; d. 1 Nov 1893), 8 Sep 1859.
 
Service: accepted as cadet in Madras Artillery and left for India on the steamer Oriental on 20 Aug 1846; retired 1 Apr 1875.
 
Photographic: In a letter of 7 July 1868, offered to the Bombay Government, his negatives of Ellora, Roza, Aurungabad, Dowlutabad and Golconda at a reduced price of Rs. 3,250. ‘Major Biden to be informed that Government is unable to purchase the negatives offered by him’.[1] On 3 September Biden again wrote to Government, ‘requesting the return of the eight photographs forwarded with his letter of 23rd June last; stating the price at which Government can have them if they wish to keep them; and expressing his willingness to supply them with other prints at the same rate, and stereoscopic prints at 1 Rupee each.’ Government ordered photographs to be returned, ‘none of them being required by Government’. [2]
IOR/L/MIL/9/206/ff.725-30
 
In a further letter, dated 23rd June 1868 Biden was ‘Offering to dispose of to Government his negatives of the Caves of Ellora, Adjunta, etc., as also a complete set of apparatus, chemicals, etc., and forwarding, for inspection, eight prints of different sizes from his negatives.’ This received the following reply from government:
RESOLUTION. - Ordered that the following letter be addressed to Major Biden: -
I am directed to acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated the 23rd ultimo, and, in thanking you for your offer of your photographic apparatus and chemicals, to inform you that Government does not require them, and that arrangements have been made to obtain photographs of the Adjunta Caves from Major Gill.
2. I am, however, desired to ask for what sums you are willing to part with the negatives of the temples and architectural antiquities at Ellora, Roza, Aurngabad and Hyderabad, respectively.
3. The photographs of native groups and figures mentioned by you are not required.[3]
No. 1291 of 8 July. Memorandum from the Officiating Revenue Commissioner S.D. No. 2263, dated 1st July 1868 - ‘Submitting a letter from the Collector of Ahmednuggur, with one from Captain Watson, Major of Brigade at Aurungabad; recommending that Government purchase Major Biden’s negatives of the Caves of Ellora, etc., as also his apparatus and chemicals, which he offers for 2,000 Rs.; and stating that if Government consent, Captain Watson will be instructed to make a selection of the best of the negatives.’
‘RESOLUTION. - The Revenue Commissioner to be furnished with a copy of the letter No. 1264, dated the 4th instant, addressed to Major Biden, in reply to an application received direct from him.’[4]
 
No. 38p of 19 August. Letter from Major H. Biden, Madras Staff Corps, dated 7th July 1868 - ‘Mentioning, in reply to Government letter No. 1264, dated the 4th idem, the sums, aggregating Rs. 4,376, that he is prepared to accept for his negatives of the Caves of Ellora, of Roza, Aurungabad and Dowlutabad, and of Golconda respectively, and stating that if the whole of the negatives are taken he is willing to reduce the price to Rupees 3,250.’
‘RESOLUTION. - Major Biden to be informed that Government is unable to purchase the negatives offered by him.’ [5]
 
No. 1743 of 17 September. Letter from Major H. Biden, Madras Staff Corps, dated 3rd September 1868 - ‘Requesting the return of eight photographs forwarded with his letter of the 23rd June last; stating the prices at which Government can have them if they wish to keep them; and expressing his willingness to supply them with other prints at the same rates, and stereoscopic prints at 1 Rupee each.’
 
‘RESOLUTION. - The photographs should be returned to Major Biden, none of them being required by Government.’[6] 
  
 
  

Footnotes 
  
  1. Λ Bombay General Proceedings, no.38P of 1868, IOR/P/441/51. 
      
  2. Λ ibid, 17 September (No.1743) of 1868, IOR/P/441/51. 
      
  3. Λ Bombay Public Proceedings, July 1868, IOR/P/441/51 No. 661. 
      
  4. Λ Bombay Public Proceedings, July 1868, IOR/P/441/51 No. 678. 
      
  5. Λ Bombay Public Proceedings, August 1868, IOR/P/441/51 No. 837. 
      
  6. Λ Bombay Public Proceedings, September 1868, IOR/P/441/51 No. 951. 
      
 
  

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