Louis-Théophile Marie Rousselet (1845-1929) was a French traveller,
writer, photographer and pioneer of the darkroom. His photographic
work now commands high prices. Many of his drawings and photographs
were made into engravings by others.
2 Travels in India
3 After India
9 Gallery of photographs
10 Gallery of works after Rousselet
13 External links
The son of a wealthy Freight forwarder, an only child; he was educated
in Paris and Heidelberg. He made ethnological and archaeological
India and the Himalayas, He travelled to Morocco, and
was a Secretary of the Society of Anthropology of Paris. His travels
have inspired several books. He made various archaeologigal
expedditions in the southern French department of
Travels in India
Portrait of Louís Rousselet dressed as an Indian native. 1867
Crushing by Elephant, an execution depicted in Rousselet's "Le Tour du
He was in
India from 1864 to 1868 He spent much time in central
India (Alwar, Baroda, Bhopal, Gwalior,
Udaipur and several other
cities in Rajasthan).
Roussellet wrote: "On 20 June 1863 I embarked at Marseilles on
board the "Vectis", an English steamer bound for the East", he stopped
off in Malta, Cairo and Aden, before boarding the "Malta" taking the
Suez Canal to Bombay and India, "I intended to mainly visit all the
northern region, which includes, besides the English Presidency of
Bengal, the feudal states of Rajasthan, the Bundelcund, the Goundwana,
The Punjab and the Kingdom of Nepal". He arrived at Bombay on 8
While in Bombay he met "Jules Henri Jean Schaumburg" (1839-1886) a
Belgian, who was to be his travelling companion from May 1865 - Sept
1868. Schaumburg was later appointed as an artist to The Geological
India in Calcutta.
His intention was for a 6-month trip but he stayed 4 years. He was
only the second photographer (after Samuel Bourne) to do so. Both
men's photographs were extensively made into etchings without
attribution in many cases worldwide.
On arrival in
India he decided to learn photography (October 1865)
in order to supplement his diaries. after visiting the ruins at
Dabhoi, he realized that his pencil sketches were not doing justice to
the beauty of the elaborate architecture and carving. He was to write,
"It was on seeing these generally unknown masterpieces at Dubbhoee
that I regretted I had not the power of reproducing them by
photography, and felt that it would be impossible to continue my
explorations profitably without the assistance of that art. As soon,
therefore, as I returned to Baroda, I applied myself seriously to
learn photography; and with that view I procured from Bombay all the
He took more than 600 photographs. On his return to France he
published excerpts from his Indian diary along with woodcut
illustrations taken mostly from his sketches and photographs in a
French weekly Journal "Le Tour du Monde". Many of the engravings were
by Émile Thérond.
Louís Rousselet with Jules Henri Jean Schaumburg. 1867
He visited the "Bir Singh Dev Palace and it's lake Datia (Lala ka
Bhopal in 1867, the two companions were presented with Sirdar
costumes: “The glittering costumes ordered by the Queen consisted of
long tunics of green silk gauze embossed with gold; vast petticoat
pantaloons of crimson satin embroidered with silver, kumerbunds, or
cashmere belts, of violet and gold, cloaks of deep scarlet-coloured
cashmere embroidered with gold and silver, and to crown all, toque
diadems in fine gold.”
He first visited Banaras (Kashi) in
Uttar Pradesh and Delhi in 1868.
Rousselet then left
India for the last time: “...and on the 1st
September 1868, I went on board the "Labourdonnais" ... I had also to
say good-bye to my good and faithful companion (Schaumburg), who was
detained by fresh projects in the country. My old bearer Devi, the
trusty servant who had followed me for two years through so many good
and evil fortunes, was there also, melted in tears, and embracing my
knees. At last the moment of parting arrived; the bell rang; I saw
Schaumburg, and the old bearer pushing off in the boat, and waving me
their last adieu.”
On return to France, in 1868, he began to work with Goupil & Cie
on a publishing project entitled "travel in
India ML Rousselet",
composed of one hundred sixty photographic plates. This publication,
was intended to be prestigious, rare and expensive. Unfortunately the
project nearing completion, was abandoned as the Franco-Prussian War
of 1870 broke out. Rousselet was then mobilized and Goupil workshops
suffered significant damage. However Rousselets extraordinary set of
high quality technical and aesthetic quality photographs remained.
In 1873 he became editor-in-chief of Hachette's "Le Journal de la
jeunesse" a weekly magazine aimed at educating and entertaining youths
aged between 10 and 15, the advent of World War I put a stop to
He was also director of the new dictionary of universal geography
(Hachette), an Academy Officer, and a member of the Society for the
Advancement of Science
The publication in 1875 by Hachette of his journal, The Rajahs of
India ("L'Inde des Rajas"), a compilation of his notes, drawings and
photographs, was a great success with a large audience. Rousselet was
to remain faithful to Hachette thereafter and make a great career.
In 1876 he got married in Paris, to Thérèse Trotignon, they would
have four children born in 1877, 1878, 1881, and 1891.
Rousselet's photographs are the most copied images published worldwide
of 19th century India.
His photograph collection and travel book L'Inde des Rajahs: Voyage
Dans l'Inde Centrale, dans les Presidences de Bombay et du Bengale
(1875) documented court life. Other photographs were of monuments
Died at Vineuil, buried at Bourré, Loir-et-Cher, in France.
Légion d'Honneur (Chevalier) Palmes Académiques
L'Inde des Rajas: voyage dans l'Inde centrale et dans les présidences
de Bombay et du Bengale (1875)
India and its Native Princes, éditions Chapman & Hall, 1876
Les royaumes de l'Inde (1879)
+ " The Son of the Constable of France or the Adventures of Jean de
Nouveau dictionnaire de géographie universelle, with Vivien de
Au vieux pays de France (1906)
Sur les confins du Maroc (1912)
L'Inde: photographies de
Louis Rousselet 1865 - 1868, Musée Goupil,
Musée d'Aquitaine, Bordeaux. The museum contains the archives (Musée
Goupil) of Goupil & Cie, one of the greatest art dealers and
publishers of the 19th century. The collection includes - The India
Louis Rousselet 1865-1868
1996, Musée des beaux-arts et d'archéologie, Libourne
1992, Musée d'Aquitaine
Gallery of photographs
Eiffel Tower under construction (1888)
Galerie des Machines de l'Exposition Universelle (1889)
File:Eglise de Plozévet (1899)
Gallery of works after Rousselet
Costumes of India
Costumes of India
Bas-relief on the left, under the gateway at Karli
Palace of Feroze, Plains of Delhi
Sarkhej Roza near Ahmedabad
Workers assembling the Eiffel Tower 1889
L'Inde: photographies de
Louis Rousselet 1865 - 1868. Musée Goupil -
Bordeaux, Bordeaux. (1992)
^ , 
^ "Rousselet family". gw.geneanet.org. Geneanet. Retrieved 7 October
^ The Tribune - Windows - Slice of history
^ Rousselet, Louis (1877). L’Inde des Rajahs. Librairie Hachette et
cie, Paris. p. 1.
^ Rousselet, Louis.
India and Its Native Princes. p. 1.
^ Rousselet, Louis. "Intentions for the Indian expedition".
quaritch.com. Retrieved 7 October 2017.
^ Librairie Hachette et cie, Paris. 1877. p. 3.
^ Murphy, Sylvia. "Jules Henri Jean Schaumburg". quivis.uk. Retrieved
10 October 2017.
^ Rousselet, Lous (1877). L’Inde des Rajahs. Librairie Hachette et
cie, Paris. p. 141. access-date= requires url= (help)
^ (Rousselet, Louis (1869).
India and its Native Princes. Goupil.
^ "Abandoned project". musee-aquitaine-bordeaux.fr. Retrieved 7
^ "Le Journal de la jeunesse". data.bnf.fr. Hachette. Retrieved 9
^ Gutschow, Niels (2006). Visualizing Space in Banaras: Images, Maps,
and the Practice of Representation. Otto Harrossowitz Verlag
Wiesbaden. pp. 191, 218–220. ISBN 3-447-05187-6. Retrieved
18 January 2017.
^ In English,
India and Its Native Princes, 1875, English edition
1876, revised by Buckle.
^ , in French.
^ "Exhibition catalog -
India photographs of
Louis Rousselet in 1865 ~
1868". musee-aquitaine-bordeaux.fr. Retrieved 7 October 2017.
Louis Rousselet at Project Gutenberg
Works by or about
Louis Rousselet at Internet Archive
19th-century French photographers
Antoine Samuel Adam-Salomon
Louis Désiré Blanquart-Evrard
Auguste Hippolyte Collard
Maxime Du Camp
Louis Arthur Ducos du Hauron
Jean Louis Marie Eugène Durieu
Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey
Jean-Baptiste Louis Gros
Gustave Le Gray
Henri Le Secq
Alphonse Louis Poitevin
Julien Vallou de Villeneuve
ISNI: 0000 0001 1067 5915
BNF: cb12443310t (data)