Traders (Marwarree Brokers), Bombay


This photograph of traders from the Marwari community was taken by William Johnson in late 19th century Bombay.

The port city of Bombay attracted early photographers, and the first official Indian photography organisation was founded here in 1854. William was a founding member of the Bombay Photographic Society and one of the first to produce ethnographic images in the Subcontinent. He started his career as a daguerreotypist with a studio on Grant Road.

A partnership with William Henderson produced a monthly called ‘Indian Amateurs Photographic Album’ in the 1850s. The album featured regional communities. One such was the traders from the Marwari community, who were beginning to pour into Bombay during the Cotton Boom years. Traditional entrepreneurs from the western Indian region of Marwar, they worked as money-lenders and cultivators in sectors that required liquid capital, thus playing a significant role in the opium and cotton trade.

Traders (Marwarree Brokers), Bombay
William Johnson
H: 24.5 cm x W: 19.5 cm
Accession No.