“There is hardly any book written on Bombay without referring to him because, he parted with his wealth of information and research to anyone willing to consume it”

"He was a human encyclopaedia on Mumbai’s heritage" 

He sparked a movement 

  creating the first “heritage list” of Mumbai.


was not an ordinary photographer documenting the city

Foy Nissen

Foy's images matter.  They remind us not just of what we had, & should have kept, but also of the permanence of loss.

- Justice Gautam Patel

inspired by the  Foy Nissen archive !

discover BOMBAY'S LANDMARKS  > > >



Foy Nissen  & the citizens of Mumbai

art: Archana Pereira


as captured by 

1.Gateway of India

"Sharing the harbour waterfront, but taking pride of place is the monument Bombay is perhaps most famous for..." - Foy Nissen

but the foundation stone was laid only in 1913, & the monarchs were greeted by a cardboard model

It was constructed to commemorate the 1911 visit of King George V and Queen Mary to the city

art by KNH Das

"...architect George Wittet’s Gateway of India, (was) completed in 1922 in the later Indo-Anglian Saracenic idiom of medieval Gujarat, but minus its planned subsidiary flanking structures" - Foy Nissen

Since its construction, the Gateway Of India is the first structure visible to those who visit Bombay by sea.  

art by KNH Das

Built from yellow basalt and reinforced concrete   believed to have been modelled after the Arc de Triomphe in Paris

"diamond by the sea"

2. Taj Mahal Palace 

The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel was constructed by the Parsi industrialist Jamshedji Tata in 1902 even before the plans for the Gateway of India were floated.  Considered one of the finest hotels in the world at one time being known as the  it is a study in luxury


Amidst the hustle and bustle of the Kala Ghoda precinct, lies Mumbai's primary museum, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya

"In 1904, some leading citizens of Bombay decided to create a museum to commemorate the visit of the Prince of Wales (later King George V)"

art by Nikhil Naik

This Grade- I heritage structure was designed by George Wittet, who was selected through an open design competition in 1909

4. Flora Fountain 

As the city grew prosperous....  "(a result of the 1860-1865 blockade of the American cotton trade),  it became fashionable to endow institutions of learning and medicine...it became equally acceptable to donate public services in the form of drinking-water supplies and ornamental water-displays all over the city." - Foy Nissen

 These gestures took the form of several fine fountains of which the most celebrated is Flora Fountain. - Foy Nissen

"...designed in Britain by R. Norman Shaw & sculpted in fine Portland stone by James Forsythe, it has served as the hub of Bombay’s ‘Fort’ area since 1869..." -- Foy Nissen

art by Zainab Tambawalla

art by  Zainab Tambawalla

Flora Fountain was to be named after Sir Bartle Frère, the Governor of Bombay at the time. 

However, the name was changed before it was unveiled to that of the Roman goddess Flora; denoting the statue that adorns the top of the fountain.

5. Victoria Terminus / CST 

"The architectural masterpiece of Bombay is universally acclaimed. It is Victoria Terminus, designed by F. W. Stevens and completed in 1888" - Foy Nissen Renamed Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus in 2017

"...conceived in the traditions of the great British architects of the period-Pugin, Burges, Butterfield, Scott and Street—and its symmetrical structure successfully culminates in a magnificent masonry dome, the whole embellished with locally adapted Gothic decoration and detailing which was admirably ‘carried out by Indian stone-masons" - Foy Nissen

British Architecture + Indian craftsmen

art by Anita Alvares Bhatia

It took over a period of 10 years to complete & was named after Queen Victoria to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of her reign (1887). Built at the cost of 2,60,000 pounds, the Terminus was one of the most expensive structures in Bombay!

Atop the central dome is the statue of the female figure : 'Progress' - she holds a torch pointing upwards in her right hand and a spoked wheel in the other.

For me, there is no such thing as the definitive photograph. The very act of fixing an image in a split-shutter-second suggests the dialogue that may ensue… Does the subsequent viewer see it this way? Or have I missed something vital and telling..?

- Foy Nissen


Aashika Cunha and Kamna Anand   Quotes via FoyNissen.com