Skip to main content

Jean Philippe Vogel collection

Identifier: ubl160

Scope and Contents

The collection includes art and archaeology photographs and postcards of monuments and sites, landscapes, views and townscapes, vernacular architecture and group portraits created in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar and China.

Of special interest are Vogel’s 14 photographic albums, named:

1. Prof. Hendrik Kern album

Contains 52 cartes-de-visites and cabinet photos of 19th- and 20th- century Dutch scholars.

2. Pakistan (Gandharan art)

The album holds 250 albumen prints showing Buddhist sculpture and architecture (1st-4th century A.D.) from the Gandharan region, present Northwest Pakistan. The album was compiled in Lahore and presents an overview of all Gandharan art photos taken by the Archaeological Survey of India between ca. 1870 and 1890. All the album’s photographs were migrated into a new album using the method of indirect soaking of the photographs. Cleaning, scanning and restoration were carried out by the National Photo Restoration Atelier at Rotterdam.

3. Pakistan (Gandharan art)

A small size album with 44 photos dealing with Gandharan art, being early photos of Sikri (site) and sculpture housed in the Guides’ Mess at Mardan ca. 1900.

4. India (Islamic art, Asokan inscriptions)

The album contains 71 albumen prints showing Islamic art in the Delhi region and Ashokan inscriptions at Mansehra. All photos were taken by the Archaeological Survey of India beween 1870 and 1893.

5. India (Islamic architecture)

The album contains 18 photos of Islamic architecture at Delhi, Agra and Fatehpur Sikri. All photos are taken by commercial photographers, predominantly by the firm H.R. Mirza & Sons, Delhi. The photos were taken between ca. 1900 and 1920.

6. India and Sri Lanka (miscellanea)

The album contains 16 photos taken by commercial photographers between ca. 1900 and 1920. Sites include: Amritsar, Delhi, Fatehpur Sikri, Madurai and Anuradhapura.

7. India (miscellanea)

The album shows 16 photos taken by commercial photographers between ca. 1900 and 1920. Topics: Hindu rituals, Varanasi, Darjeeling.

8. Sri Lanka (Buddhist art)

The album presents 11 photos of Buddhist stupas and monasteries taken by commercial photographers between ca. 1900 and 1920.

9. China (miscellanea)

There are 20 photographs related to the Buddhist art and architecture of Beijing and Hangzhou. The photos were taken between 1910 and 1930.

10. Thailand and Myanmar

The first 12 photos are related to Thailand. The pages 13-18 show Myanmar art and rituals. The photos were taken between 1910 and 1930.

11. India (Varanasi and miscellanea)

The album holds amongst others, 23 townscapes of the 'holy city' of Varanasi.

12. India (Sittannavasal)

The album, photographed and published by L. Ganesa Sarma from Pudukkottai State in South India, shows 35 Silver Gelatine Developing Out photos showing Hindu and Jaina art. The publication is undated.

13. (Sri Lanka; old postcards)

14. Indonesia (Majapahit art)

The album shows 47 Silver Gelatine Developing Out photos showing East Javanese art of the Majapahit period (1292-1527 AD).

This collection is part of the ubl159 Kern Institute Photography Collections .


  • Creation: 1870-1950
  • Creation: Bulk 1900-1939

Conditions Governing Access

Copyright: the Friends of the Kern Institute

Conditions Governing Use

The albums 3 and 4 of the Collection Jean Philippe Vogel, are physically in a bad shape. Albums 11 and 13 hold loose photographs, which makes handling risky.

Biographical / Historical

The Sanskritist and archaeologist Jean Philippe Vogel (The Hague, 9 January 1871-Oegstgeest, 10 April 1958), was introduced to Sanskrit philology and literature in 1890 as part of his study of Dutch literature at the University of Amsterdam. In 1897 he earned his doctoral degree on a Sanskrit literature subject. After a two-year lectureship at Amsterdam, Vogel departed on an India tour in 1899, during which he was offered the post of Surveyor of what was later to be named Northern Circle of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). He was the only Dutchman ever to join the ASI. He held this position up to 1913; between 1910 and 1912 Vogel was Deputy Director General of the ASI. Vogel enjoyed creating links between a variety of disciplines, including Sanskrit, epigraphy, history, and art and archaeology. He carried out explorations and excavations in the then called Himalayan hill states, in Charsadda (Pakistan), at Kusinagara (Uttar Pradesh), the believed place of the Buddha’s decease, and in Saheth-Maheth (ancient city of Sravasti in Uttar Pradesh). Vogel greatly contributed to professionalizing Indian archaeology, heritage preservation and restoration, and the accessibility of archaeology collections in museums. Between 1914 and 1939, he held the chair for Sanskrit (and unofficially archaeology) at Leiden, and founded the Vereniging Instituut Kern (1924), the first centre for Indology in the West to focus on all East Indies, comprising The Netherlands Indies, The British Indies and French Indo-China. Vogel’s art and archaeology photo collection, grew into an impressive collection when, on his trip to India in 1925-26, some 1800 survey photographs were donated to him by his former superior John Marshall, Director General of Archaeology. From that time onwards, a steady flow of survey photographs was sent to the Kern Institute. Besides, Vogel regularly received new photographs from scholars calling upon his expertise and for publication in ABIA, the Annual Bibliography of Indian Archaeology, compiled in Leiden. Vogel’s group portraits, landscapes and townscapes by European and Indian commercial photographers were predominantly collected between 1901 and 1913 and in 1925-26. After 1939, Vogel donated his private India-related photos and photographic albums to the Kern Institute. Vogel was married to Marie Strumphler; the couple had no children.


14 photographic albums; c. 7700 photographs

Language of Materials


Abstract in Dutch

Collectie foto’s verzameld door Jean Philippe Vogel (1871-1958) tijdens zijn aanstelling als Superintendent Northern Circle, Archaeological Survey of India, te Lahore (1901-1913) en zijn professoraat Sanskrit te Leiden (1914-1939). Het betreft 19de- en 20ste-eeuwse kunst- en archeologiefoto’s van vroege fotopioniers en survey-fotografen, en foto’s van bouwwerken, stadsgezichten, landschappen en groepsportretten genomen door commerciële fotografen werkzaam in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodja en Myanmar.

Abstract in English

Collection photographs brought together by Jean Philippe Vogel (1871-1958) during his appointment as Superintendent Northern Circle of the Archaeological Survey of India at Lahore (1901-1913) and his professorate for Sanskrit at Leiden (1914-1939). These include 19th and 20th-century art and archaeology photographs by early photo pioneers and survey photographers, and photographs of monuments, townscapes, landscapes and group portraits taken by commercial photographers active in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar.

Physical Location

Leiden University Library, Special Collections

Other Finding Aids

The metadata and photographs of the Collection Vogel are digitally accessible via Digital Collections.

Prints cover the inventory numbers P-036000 up to P-043700.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Collection Vogel, part of the Kern Institute Photographic Collections, was presented on loan to the Leiden University Library, department Special Collections, on April 27, 2010.


The photographs of the Collection Vogel are not unique, but their number of copies, both in India and the West, is limited. Accessibility of similar collections is generally poor, with the exception of the British Library Collections. All Collection Vogel photographs are owned by the Kern Institute Foundation. Part of the collection (doubles, unresearched prints, Vogel’s private photographs) was excluded from the loan agreement and, so far, remains with the Board of the Friends of the Kern Institute.


Additional photographs will be presented.

Existence and Location of Copies

The metadata and scanned photographs of the Collection Vogel are digitally accessible via Digital Collections. Prints cover the inventory numbers P-036000 up to P-043700.

Related Materials

Jean Philippe Vogel’s scholarly papers, correspondence and diaries were also transferred to the Leiden University Library in 2010. A typed inventory is available in the reading room of the Special Collections.

Separated Materials

The Oriental miniatures collected by Jean Philippe Vogel were transfered in the 1950s to the Rijksmuseum voor Volkenkunde (nowadays Museum Volkenkunde Leiden).


  • 't Hart-van den Muyzenberg, H.J., Vogel, Jean Philippe (1871-1958), in Biografisch Woordenboek van Nederland 4, Den Haag 1994.
  • Marshall, John, Jean Philippe Vogel, C.I.E, in The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, No. 3/4, Oct., 1958, pp. 220-222.
  • Theuns-de Boer, G., A Vision of Splendour. Indian Heritage in the Photographs of Jean Philippe Vogel, 1901-1913. Ahmedabad 2008.


The photographs and albums of the Collection Vogel can be requested at the Special Collections Reading Room, using the inventory number, starting with P-0 and for albums giving the album and page number, e.g. Album 1, page 9.

Processing Information

The Collection Vogel was under the guardianship of the Kern Institute from the very beginning of its foundation in 1925. The collection was - and still is - partly organized according to art period, and partly to region and religion. The photographs underwent passive conservational measures between 1999 and 2001, subsidized by the Mondriaan Foundation. They were scanned and made digitally available via the local Skopeo-database (financed by the Jan Gonda Foundation), and later via DigiBeeld, an E-learning invironment for students and teachers. Since 2009, data are digitally accessible via Digital Collections.

The albums 1, 4,12 and 14 are not scanned yet.

Collection guide of the Jean Philippe Vogel collection (1870-1950)
Collectie Jean Philippe Vogel
Gerda Theuns-de Boer (Marie-Odette Scalliet, ed.), 2011
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Beschrijving is in het Engels.

Repository Details

Part of the Leiden University Libraries Archives & Collections Repository

Witte Singel 27
Leiden 2311 BG Netherlands
+31 71 527 2857