|James Fergusson (architect) en. Wikipedia. org|
|a sketch of Jaismund Lake in Rajasthan by James Fergussion. The Victorian Web|
|mount abu dahwarra jain temple by Fergussion . www.columbia.edu|
In the course of his studies, though he was neither a trained architect nor a scientist, he realized there was a vast scope for studies related to ancient Indian structures. The study had not been taken before by any body. Hence, he embarked on a long tour of the Indian subcontinent between 1835 and 1845, visiting very bit of land in all directions. He undertook this journey through the tough tropical terrain, unmindful of various hardship and difficulties, particularly, when visiting remote places and spending time and gathering information from the natives. During this period, he painfully took detailed notes of each of the monument he visited and came up with more or less accurate reproduction by way of sketches and field notes. His knowledge of draftsmanship with Camera Lucid was quite handy to him. Fergusson's approach was not only objective, but also subjective and interpretive. Later he settled in London, and from his house at 20 Langham Place, W he spent rest of his life on building designs.
|Rock-cut temple of India 1845. UCSB Library|
on typological analysis of the structures and fixing up the chronology on the basis of the dated ones, he listed the old structures like temples, monuments, etc. In 1840 he was elected a member of the Royal Asiatic Society. His book on The Rock-cut Temples of India (1845) included various aspects including the relevance of historical and aesthetic aspects. Unsatisfied with his work, with more energy, he approached studies of ancient Indian designs in a different perspectives. The Handbook of Architecture, a work first appeared in 1855 covered the whole gamut of comparative approach to ancient architecture. In 1856 Fergusson was elected by the committee a member of the Athenaeum Club. Subsequently he changed the title to The History of Architecture, that was edited by George Kriehn in 1910.
01. A paper on "The Ancient Buddhist Architecture of India" to the Royal Institute of British Architects, the first of a number of technical papers of great value and merit published (1848) in the Transactions of that body, 02. In 1849 "The History of the Pointed Arch", 03. In 1851 on "The Architectural Splendour of the City of Bijapur," and "The Great Dome of Muhammad's Tomb, Bijapur", 04. A History of the Architecture of All Countries. Lithograph (fourth volume) photographed by JB, courtesy of the Imperial Hotel, New Delhi and 05. In 1855. The Illustrated Handbook of Architecture, being a Concise and Popular Account of the Different Styles of Architecture prevailing in all Ages and Countries, 2 vols. It was followed in 1862 by one entitled A History of the Modern Styles of Architecture, being a sequel to the Handbook, 06. In 1876 Fourth volume on The History of Indian and Eastern Architectu
The Royal Institute of British Architects in 1871 awarded him a gold medal for his work. In 1856 Fergusson was elected by the committee a member of the Athenaeum Club, and in 1871 the Institute of British Architects awarded him the royal gold medal for architecture. Worthy of mention are his sessional papers of the Institute of British Architects - The History of the Pointed Arch, Architecture of Southern India, a study of Indian Mythology and Art in the early centuries of the Christian era, Architecture of southern India and medieval Muslim monuments of Bijapur, Architectural Splendour of the City of Beejapore, etc. Tree and Serpent Worship (1868), Buddhist remains at Sanchi and Amaravati. Rude Stone Monuments of Many Lands (1872), he stated that the megalithic monuments of India are 'historic' rather than 'prehistoric'. It was also under Fergusson's supervision that the various works of Indian art were exhibited at the Indian Court of the Crystal Palace at Sydenham and the Exposition International at Paris in 186. In 1867 The collection of photographs and casts for exhibition in the Indian Court of the International Exhibition held that year in Paris,
Fergusson's vast and comprehensive contributions to Indian studies supported by his personal field studies were on par with the pioneering and scholarly works of Alexander Cunningham, his contemporary and associate. His untiring interest in architecture never diminished and continued till his death. He breathed his last in London on 9 January 1886 and was buried at Highgate cemetery.