Scope and Contents
J.Ph. Vogel, first chairman of the Kern Institute, brought together some 8,600 photographs and 12 photographic albums. Most of the photographs were taken by the Archeological Survey of India (including Burma and Sri Lanka), though Vogel collected also photographs from Thailand and Cambodia. N.J. Krom, first vice-chairman and second chairman, F.D.K. Bosch and his successors until 1942 and A.J. Bernet Kempers after World War II facilitated the constant flow of new photographs of the Archaeological Survey of the Netherlands East Indies (Oudheidkundige Dienst van Nederlandsch-Indië) and of the Indonesian Archeological Service (Dinas Purbakala Indonesia) through the intermediary of the Ministry of Colonial Affairs. Vogel and Krom saw also to the acquisition of the sub-collections of Isidore van Kinsbergen (Antiquities of Java I and II and the Borobudur Series), Kassian Cephas (Prambanan and Borobudur hidden base Series), Jan Kornelis de Cock (India and Sri Lanka in 1909-1910), Theodoor van Erp (Borobudur, Bali) and Claire Holt (1901-1970). N.J. Krom donated his own collection of photographs taken by Van Kinsbergen, Cephas and the photographers of the Archaeological Service of the Netherlands East Indies.
Hans Rhodius (1912-1988), founder of the Stichting Walter Spies Holland, donated his collection of photographs by Walter Spies to the Kern Institute in 1975. In the late 1970s the Collection Gerard Foekema started taking shape. In 1995, the Museum of the Tropics (Tropenmuseum), Amsterdam, gifted some 35,000 photographs to the Leiden University. These were the photographs of the former Institute of South Asian Archaeology in Amsterdam, which after the closure of the Institute in 1988 were removed to another location of the University of Amsterdam and renamed Collection 'Bibliotheek voor Aziatische Kunst en Archeologie' (BAKA). This collection includes de impressive sub-collection of c. 10,000 photographs brought together by Johanna Engelberta van Lohuizen-de Leeuw. The two sub-collections of photographs taken by Yves Coffin and Josephine Powell are also part of the 'BAKA' collection. Coffin was a French diplomat who served for many years in Southeast Asian countries. He was a talented photographer who devoted much of his spare time to taking photographs of temples and art works in the countries to which he had been posted. Powell was a renowed American photographer.
The Kern Institute Photography Collections hold the following substantial sub-collections:
- Bulk 1900-1990
Conditions Governing Access
See the various subcollections.
Conditions Governing Use
Regulations that apply during the use of these materials can be found on the website of Leiden University Library.
Biographical / Historical
On the initiative of the Sanskritist and archaeologist Jean Philippe Vogel (1871-1958) and the linguist and archaeologist Nicolaas Johannes Krom (1883-1945) an association was founded on 1 December 1924 for 'the establishment and maintenance of an Institute of Indian archaeology at the University of Leiden, named the Kern Institute'. A few months later, on 4 April 1925, the Institute was officially founded. The Institute was named after Hendrik Kern (1833-1917), who was appointed in 1865 as first professor of Sanskrit at Leiden University. Both founding fathers had a long-standing experience of research and field work – and knowledge of photography - in the former British and Dutch Asian colonies. In 1901-1913 Vogel had his headquarters in Lahore (Pakistan) as superintendant of the Northern Circle of the Archaeological Survey of India. After a study tour in British India and French Indo-China in 1910 on his way from the Netherlands to Java, Krom took up his new function of chairman of the Commissie in Nederlandsch-Indië voor Oudheidkundig Onderzoek op Java en Madoera (Commission for Archaeological Survey in Java and Madura) in Batavia (Jakarta) and was the brains behind, and first director of, the Oudheidkundige Dienst in Nederlandsch-Indië (Archaeological Survey of the Netherlands East Indies), founded in 1913. By the time they founded the Kern Institute, Vogel held the chair of Sanskrit and Krom the chair of Archaeology, Ancient and Colonial History of the Netherlands East Indies at Leiden University. Both scholars envisioned a multi-disciplinary approach to the new Indological studies and focused on India in its widest sense, that is all "Indies", the former Netherlands East Indies, British India and French Indo-China, and inevitably beyond (Central, South and Southeast Asia).
One of main objectives of the board of Kern Institute was to collect materials for education and research in the field of Central, South and Southeast Asian languages and cultures. Visual material was also crucial. Besides printed works and precious books, block prints, manuscripts, letters and archival material, casts, rubbings of stone and metal inscriptions, drawings, maps and plans, an impressive collection of c. 70,000 sepia-tinted and black and white photographs and c. 100,000 slides was brought together between 1925 and 1990.
The photographs were taken by professional and semi-professional photographers and by scholars. Renowned photographers like John Murray, Charles Shepherd, H.R. Mirza & Sons, R.C. Mazumdar, Lal Chand & Sons, K. Lall & Sons, Skeen & Co., A.W.A. Platee Ltd., Johanna van Lohuizen-de Leeuw, Josephine Powell and Gerard Foekema were active in Central and South Asia while Isidore van Kinsbergen, Kassian Cephas, Woodbury & Page, Hendrik Veen, J.J. de Vink, H.L. Leydie Melville, Walter Spies, G.R. Lambert & Co., Philip Adolphe Klier, Johannes & Co., Photo Machet and Yves Coffin were active in Southeast Asia.
70.000 photographsc (circa), 100.000 slides (circa)
Language of Materials
Vanaf de opening van het Instituut Kern in 1925 werden er, naast gedrukte werken en bijzonder materiaal (handschriften, tekeningen en kaarten, e.d.), foto’s en dia’s verzameld ten behoeve van onderwijs en onderzoek op het gebied van de Aziatische kunst en archeologie en de materiële cultuur. In het jaar dat de bibliotheek en de Bijzondere Collecties van het Kern Instituut naar de universiteitsbibliotheek werden overgebracht (2010), telde de fotocollectie ca. 70.000 sepia-getinte en zwart-wit foto’s en ca. 100.000 dia’s. Een aanzienlijk deel van de foto’s en dia’s genomen tussen 1870 en 1990 betreft opnamen van monumenten, opgravingen en objecten door de Oudheidkundige Dienst van Nederlandsch-Indië / Dinas Purbakala Indonesia en door de Archaeological Survey of India, alsmede opnamen in musea. Landschappen, stadsgezichten en groepsportretten van 19de- en vroeg 20ste-eeuwse commerciële fotografen maken ook deel uit van de collectie, waarmee deze een goed beeld geeft van de ontwikkeling van de fotografie als medium in Azië.
From the moment the Kern Institute opened its doors in 1925, photographs and slides were collected besides printed works and other kinds of special materials (manuscripts, drawings and maps, etc.), for the purpose of research and education pertaining to art, archaeology and material culture of Central, South and Southeast Asia. At the time the library and the Special collections of the Institute were moved to the University Library (2010), the collection counted c. 70,000 sepia-toned and black-and-white photographs and c.100,000 slides. The greater part of the photographs taken between 1870 and 1990 show in situ monuments, excavations and artefacts by the Archaeological Survey of the Netherlands East Indies and of Indonesia (Oudheidkundige Dienst in Nederlandsch-Indië / Dinas Purbakala Indonesia) and the Archaeological Survey of India. Moreover, landscapes, townscapes and group portraits of early nineteenth and twentieth-century commercial photographers are also part of the collection, which allows the study of photography as a medium in Asia.
- ubl160 Collection Jean Philippe Vogel (1871-1958) : c. 8,600 photographs and 12 albums, 1880-1940. South and Southeast Asia.
- Collection Isidore van Kinsbergen (1821-1905) : 300 photographs,1863-1875. Antiquities of Java, Borobudur (callnumbers P-023877 – P-024332; P-044000 – P-044352)
- Collection Kassian Cephas (1844-1912) : 500 photographs, c. 1890. Javanese antiquities, miscellanea (callnumbers P-044353 – P-044776).
- Collection Claire Holt (1901-1970) : c. 600 photographs, 1930s, 1950s. Indonesia (callnumbers P-025006 – P-025221; P-044777 – P-045381).
- Collection Nicolaas Johannes Krom (1883-1945) : c. 900 Pre-World War II photographs, mostly prints from the Oudheidkundige Dienst in Nederlandsch-Indië (OD), and also photographs by Van Kinsbergen and Cephas. Hindu-Buddhist Javanese antiquities (callnumbers P-045802 – P-045840, and boxes 1-8).
- Collection Theodoor Van Erp (1874-1958) : c. 350 photographs, 1910s-1920s. Borobudur, antiquities of Bali, Sumatra (callnumbers P-045393 – P-045740).
- Collection Walter Spies (1895-1942) : 470 photographs, 1930s. Bali. Java (the photographs still have old callnumbers: 80/1110-80/1573 and 79/50-79/56).
- Collection Jan Kornelis de Cock (1867-1941) : c. 260 glass negatives and c. 350 nitrate negatives, 140 prints, 1909-1910. India, Sri Lanka (callnumbers N-00001 – N-000616, 0N-597).
- ubl164 Collection Foekema (1943-) : c. 3650 photographs, 1979-1990. India, Myanmar (Burma).
- ubl161 Collection OD (Oudheidkundige Dienst van Nederlandsch-Indië/Dinas Purbakala Indonesia) : c. 21,800 photographs, 1863-1956. Indonesia.
- Collection BAKA (Bibliotheek Aziatische Kunst en Archeologie Amsterdam) : South and Southeast Asia, c. 35.000, post World War II, including including:
- a. ubl162 Collection Johanna Engelberta van Lohuizen-de Leeuw (1919-1983): c. 10,000 photographs, 1956-1983. South and Southeast-Asia.
- b. ubl163 Collection Josephine Powell (1919-2007): Central and South Asia, Thailand. 1856 photographs, 1956-1975.
- c. Collection Yves Coffin (1924-): c. 7000 photographs, 1960s-early 1970s. Indonesia, Mainland Southeast Asia (callnumbers P-012411 – P-019521; P-02248 - P-023180).
Leiden University Library, Special Collections
Other Finding Aids
There is no complete electronic inventory for the collections. Some 45,000 photographs are accessible via Digital Collections.
An overview of The Kern Institute Photography Collections is partly available in the following publications:
- The Kern Institute Photography Collections: Gerda Theuns-de Boer (2003, 2010), Dory Heilijgers-Seelen (2010).
- Collection Isidore van Kinsbergen : Gerda Theuns-de Boer & Saskia Asser (2005).
- Collection Jean Philippe Vogel : Gerda Theuns-de Boer (2008).
- Collection Walter Spies: Stowell (1991).
A list of callnumbers and boxes can be found here.
The Kern Institute photographic collections were predominantly facilitated or brought together by the Dutch Ministry of Colonial Affairs, Jean Philippe Vogel (1871-1958), Nicolaas Johannes Krom (1883-1945), Frederik David Kan Bosch (1886-1967), A.J. Bernet Kempers (1906-1992), Theodoor van Erp (1874-1958), Johanna Engelberta van Lohuizen-de Leeuw (1919-1983) and librarians of the Kern Institute. In the course of time since its creation, several private persons and scholars such as J.L.A. Brandes donated or bequeathed photographs to the Kern Institute.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The Kern Institute photographic collections were presented to the University Library Leiden, section Special Collections, on April 27, 2010, as a result of the process of centralization within the Leiden University Libraries. Several sub-collections are, however, owned by the Association of Friends of the Kern Institute.
The selection of the photographs to be moved to the new location was carried out by Gerda Theuns-de Boer, based on the de-selection of duplicates and the priority of originals over recent reprints.
A final set of photographs can be expected after identification.
Existence and Location of Originals
The sub-collection BAKA (former Bibliotheek voor Aziatische Kunst en Archeologie, Amsterdam) holds a set of reproduction prints of the so-called India Office Library photographs. These are early views of India taken between 1860 and 1900. The corresponding vintage prints are kept in the British Library.
Existence and Location of Copies
Digitisation of the metadata was initiated in 1998 and has resulted in a digital accessibility of some 45,000 records. Not all description records have an image as yet. The Kern Institute Photography Collections are partially accessible via Digital Collections.
The greater part of the Collection OD (Oudheidkundige Dienst van Nederlandsch-Indië) is also searchable via microfiche, a product of IDC (Zug, Switzerland, 1983).
- Heilijgers, D.,
The Kern Institute, in: Bonouvrié, N.C. (ed.), Guide to the Kern Institute: published on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Kern Institute, Leiden 2000, pp. 3-13.
- Lunsingh Scheurleer, P.,
Isidore van Kinsbergen: photographer of Javanese antiquities, in: Jane Levy Reed (ed.), Towards independence: a century of Indonesia photographed, San Francisco 1991, pp. 37-44.
- Stowell, J.,
Walter Spies: the artist as photographer, in: J. Levy Reed (ed.), Towards independence: a century of Indonesia photographed, San Francisco 1991, pp. 107-116.
- Theuns-de Boer, G.,
The Kern Institute Photographic Database on Asian Art and Archaeology, in: Bonouvrié, N.C. (ed.), Guide to the Kern Institute: published on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Kern Institute, Leiden 2000, pp. 32-33.
- Theuns-de Boer, G.,
Met nieuwe ogen: de historische fotocollectie van het Instituut Kern ontsloten, in: Aziatische Kunst 33/3 (2003), pp. 16-33.
- Theuns-de Boer, G. and S. Asser, Isidore van Kinsbergen (1821-1905). Fotopionier en Theatermaker in Nederlands-Indië / Photo Pioneer and Theatre Maker in the Dutch Indies. Zaltbommel [etc.] 2005.
- Theuns-de Boer, G., A Vision of Splendour. Indian Heritage in the Photographs of Jean Philippe Vogel, 1901-1913. Ahmedabad 2008.
The material in this collection can be requested at the Special Collections Reading Room. See the various sub-collections for detailed instructions.
The Kern Institute Photography Collections are part of the Kern Institute Special Collections which were part of the library of the Kern Institute between 1925 and 2010. The Institute was housed in various Leiden premises: Gravensteen, the Old Academic Hospital, the Arsenaal, the Witte Singel-complex and finally the P.J. Veth building, Nonnensteeg. Until 1998, the photography collections were stored in archival folders and drawers, ordered by sub-collection, and subsequently according to art discipline, region or religion. From 1998 onwards, all photographs were packed in transparent Secol sleeves and horizontally stored in acid-free boxes, subsidised by the Mondriaan Foundation. Most data of the Kern Institute Collections were made accessible via the Skopeo-database at the Institute (financed by the Jan Gonda Foundation), and later via DigiBeeld, an E-learning environment for students and teachers. Since 2009, data are accessible via Digital Collections.
- Afghanistan Subject Source: Tgn
- Archaeology Subject Source: Fast
- Architecture Subject Source: Fast
- Art Subject Source: Fast
- Art, South Asian Subject Source: Fast
- Art, Southeast Asian Subject Source: Fast
- Bangladesh Subject Source: Tgn
- Cambodia Subject Source: Tgn
- Cephas, Kassian, 1845-1912
- Coffin, Yves, 1924-
- Foekema, Gerard, 1943-
- India Subject Source: Tgn
- Instituut Kern (Rijksuniversiteit te Leiden)
- Kinsbergen, Isidore van, 1821-1905
- Leydie Melville, Hendrik Lodewijk, -1921
- Lohuizen-De Leeuw, J. E. van (Johanna Engelberta), 1919-
- Material culture Subject Source: Fast
- Myanmar Subject Source: Tgn
- Negatives (photographs) Subject Source: Aat
- Nepal Subject Source: Tgn
- Page, James, 1833-1865
- Pakistan Subject Source: Tgn
- Photograph albums Subject Source: Aat
- Photographs Subject Source: Aat
- Photography Subject Source: Fast
- Powell, Josephine, 1919-2007
- Spies, Walter
- Sri Lanka Subject Source: Tgn
- Thailand Subject Source: Tgn
- Uzbekistan Subject Source: Tgn
- Veen, H. (Hendrik), 1823-1905
- Woodbury, Walter B. (Walter Bentley), 1834-1885
- Beschrijving van de Kern Institute Photography Collections / Fotocollectie Instituut Kern
- Gerda Theuns-de Boer (Marie-Odette Scalliet, ed.), 2012
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Code for undetermined script
- Language of description note
- Beschrijving is in het Engels.
- 22 March 2019: latest update