John Saché

& Saché & Westfield studios.

John Edward Saché (born circa 1824 - died1882) appears to have been of Prussian origin, and his original name was Johann Edvardt Sachert. The precise details of his long and varied career in India are still largely unclear, but he seems to have first worked as a photographer in the USA, for a brief period in the late 1850’s, before coming to India in the early 1860’s. He initially set up in partnership in Calcutta, with W. F. Westfield trading as Saché & Westfield .

The various partnerships, and highly peripatetic career, that John Saché pursued in India, are poorly documented and very often overlap confusingly in their dates, but Saché and Westfield appear to have traded as such from about 1864 to early 1868, at least; although Saché may well have actually left the business by 1867. He also seems to have been very briefly involved in a partnership trading as Saché & Hennah in Calcutta. An early Saché cdv (printed ‘photographer from America’) has the m/s addition Clarke & Co.; perhaps implying a very brief partnership; possibly with another calcutta professional, J. H. Clarke. At some point, he worked briefly with either Thomas or Colin Murray, trading as Saché & Murray in Bombay; but by March 1868*, he was established in a studio under his own name, in Naini Tal, (briefly also in partnership there with G. W. Lawrie), where he worked during the summer ‘season’. He also had a winter season studio in Lucknow, on Hazratganj. He continued in business at these two premises, until he left India for while in 1872, after the death of his second wife.

An advertisement in The Pioneer, Feb 22 1872, stated that: 'Saché’s Photo Studio will re-open at Nynee Tal on 15th April 1872, for portraits & Groups at greatly reduced rates, as it is his last Season in India.'

It appears however, that he returned to India again, sometime shortly afterwards, and married again.

    He married three times, and fathered a small dynasty of Indian photographers; as two of his sons also set up photographic studios in various parts of India. This often makes it difficult to establish exactly which Saché is which, and leads to much confusion! His second wife was called Anne, and in about 1873, he married a third wife, Amelia Eliza Charlotte Holmes. She was the sister of another professional photographer, Willian D. Holmes; (the father of the photographer Randolph Bezant Holmes). Her profession was listed in trade directories as ‘artist’; but she died at Lucknow on 25th June 1882, at the age of only 32, and  John Saché also died in the same year.

His eldest son Alfred Saché had been assisting, and then managing his father’s studio during the late 1870’s, before leaving to set up on his own account. after John’s death, he then took over the remaining business, which traded as A. Saché, and eventually moved to Dalhousie, where he continued to sell prints of his father’s photographs, for some years, until his own death in 1886; although the studio seems to have continued in business for some years more, under his wife’s management.

    John Saché’s studio produced the usual range of portraiture, cabinet prints and cdv’s (the backs of some of his cartes-de-visité stated: 'Saché Photographer from America. Nynee Tal'. He also produced a fairly prolific range of high quality topographical views during his career; the majority (though not all), signed and numbered in the negative   He took something over 1000 landscape views, almost all of them 10 x 12 in in size, which were usually numbered and signed Saché (or some of his earliest work: Saché & Murray).

    During his career in India, he travelled widely around India and documented all the major towns and monuments of the north, including Calcutta, Delhi, Bombay, Naini Tal, Simla, Mussoorie, Agra, Lucknow, Lahore and Kashmir,  as well as an expedition from Naini Tal across the Garhwal Hills up to the Pindar Valley and Glacier. Much of his work closely  resembling that of his contemporary Samuel Bourne, by whom he seems to have been influenced.

*Ref: announcement in ‘The Pioneer’, dated 11th March 1868.




This page is still under construction - a catalogue of prints for sale will be uploaded shortly