19th Century Photography

Qutb Shahi Tombs, Hyderabad

Here is a view of the Qutb Shahi Tombs in Hyderabad, as captured by Lala Deen Dayal. Located near the historic Golconda Fort, the tombs are an indelible part of Hyderabad’s skyline. Mohammed Quli Qutb Shah founded the city in 1591 by, moving away from the historic capital at Golconda. The Qutb Shahi empire was… Read more »

Khandala Railway Station

This photograph of the Khandala railway station in the Bombay Presidency (today in Maharashtra) is attributed to Alice Tredwell, a mid nineteenth century railway contractor and photographer. She had arrived in India with her husband, Solomon Tredwell, a railway contractor in 1859 for working on the completion of the Bhor Ghat section of the Great… Read more »

Northern Gate of Sanchi Stupa

This photograph is of the Sanchi Stupa, which is one of the oldest and finest examples of Buddhist architecture synchronizing with the rise and fall of Buddhism in India. It was taken in 1882 by Lala Deen Dayal. The Sanchi Stupa is one of the oldest and finest example of the architecture of the Shunga… Read more »

Dhamek Stupa, Sarnath

This is a photograph of the Dhamek Stupa at Sarnath. Taken by Francis Frith & Co, it shows the dilapidated state of the ancient Buddhist structure in the village of Sarnath in Uttar Pradesh. Sarnath is among four major sacred places of pilgrimage for Buddhists in India, which are based on four major events in… Read more »

Hosainabad, Lucknow

The Husainabad Imambara (Hosainabad, Lucknow), more commonly known as the Chhota Imambara at Lucknow was built between 1837 and 1842 by Nawab Muhammad Ali Shah. The structure was built both to function as a congregation hall for Shia Muslims but also as a mausoleum for the Nawab and his mother. A prominent gilded dome sits… Read more »

The Holy Trinity Church, Murree

The Holy Trinity Church is located in Murree, a hill station in present-day Pakistan established by the British for the sake of troops in Peshawar riddled with excruciating heat, disease and other dangers of the frontier. Construction on the Holy Trinity Church began in 1848 when the British administration took over Punjab Province. It was… Read more »

Bodhgaya Temple, Gaya (Mahabodhi Temple)

Bodh Gaya is an important Buddhist site, known primarily as the place where Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment. The Buddhist complex at Bodh Gaya has a history of worship that goes back 2300 years. The oldest monumental remains here date back to the Mauryan period, during the reign of Asoka. The first Director-General of the Archaeological… Read more »

Sawai Ram Singh II, Maharaja of Jaipur

Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh II of Jaipur reigned from 1835 to 1880. A self-taught photographer, he was always up-to-date with the latest camera models and accessories. He would often be found in his small retreat called the ‘photu ka karkhana’ or ‘tasveer khana’ – taking pictures, processing them, fixing his chemicals or making regular journal… Read more »

Untitled CdV Album

This CdV photo card album comes with a maroon cover, and a raised golden decoration on its binding. It contains 40 photographic prints inside card mounts that have gilded edges. This album contains images of Maharajas of different regions, some saints, other men and women of prominence, as well as of their servants. Some of… Read more »

Major General Henry Tombs

This albumen photograph is of Sir Henry Tombs (1825-1874) as captured by Felice Beato. Tombs was born on 10th November 1825 in Calcutta, India. His father, Major General John Tombs, was a soldier and commanded the 3rd Bengal Cavalry at the Siege of Bhurtpore from 1824. Sir Henry completed his education and entered the Royal… Read more »

Mahars

This photograph, captioned ‘Mahars,’ was captured by William Johnson. The Mahar caste traditionally belonged to the lowest caste in the Hindu caste system in the Bombay presidency. This image initially formed a part of William Johnson’s ‘Photographs of Western India’ (1855-1862) and reappeared in his later publication ‘The Oriental Races and Tribes, Residents and Visitors… Read more »

Karnatika Brahmans

This photograph was captured by William Johnson and is captioned ‘Karnatika Brahmins’. Karnataka Brahmins belonged to Belgaum, Dharwar, and other Northern Karnataka region of the Bombay Presidency. This image initially formed a part of William Johnson’s ‘Photographs of Western India’ (1855-1862) and reappeared in his later publication ‘The Oriental Races and Tribes, Residents and Visitors… Read more »

Fisherwomen of Bombay

This photograph was captured by William Johnson and is captioned ‘Fishwomen of Bombay’. The Kolis are considered to be the oldest inhabitants of the Bombay island. Today, traces of their original dwellings are found as hamlets, ‘gaontans’, colonies and ‘wadas’ around Mahim, Sion, Worli, Colaba, etc. This image initially formed a part of William Johnson’s… Read more »

Cotton Merchants, Bombay

Following the Uprising of 1857, the British started to use photography to gather data on races, castes and communities to better understand the ethnic diversity of the subcontinent. This photograph is from ‘The Photographs of Western India’ (Vol.1), 1855-1852, one of the earliest photographic compendiums to be produced on ethnographic portraiture, taken by William Johnson… Read more »

Taj Mahal, Agra

This photograph of the Taj Mahal was taken by V Pont, who can be seen standing towards the left of the first rectangular fountain in the foreground. V & E Pont were two British servicemen who set up a photo studio in Calcutta during the 1860s, when it was the bustling capital of the British… Read more »

Boatmen, Kashmir

This is a photograph of six boatmen from Kashmir taken by Francis Frith in 1875. Francis Frith, a grocery business owner, developed interest in photography in Liverpool around 1851. By 1856 he had his first photographic exhibition at the London Photographic Society. In 1859, he established his photography company Francis Frith & Co., which specialised… Read more »

Dards, Kashmir

This is a photograph taken by Francis Frith in 1875 of three members of the Dardic community. One of them holds something that resembles a smoking pipe. Francis Frith, a grocery business owner, developed interest in photography in Liverpool around 1851. By 1856 he had his first photographic exhibition at the London Photographic Society. In… Read more »