Colonial India

Hosainabad, Lucknow

The Hussainabad 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 »

Plague Visitation, Bombay, 1896-1897

This album captures the arrival of the bubonic plague in Bombay in 1896 and 1897. It documents the circumstances of the time and the plague’s progression into becoming one of the deadliest pandemics of 19th century India. Acacio Gabriel Viegas, a Portuguese medical practitioner, recognized the plague in Bombay at Mandvi in September 1896. Regarded… 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 »

Mahars

This photograph of the Mahar community is by William Johnson. The Mahars traditionally belonged to the lowest caste in the Hindu caste system in the Bombay presidency. This image originally formed a part of a series called ‘Photographs of Western India’ (1855-1862) by William Johnson. It reappeared in his later publication ‘The Oriental Races and… Read more »

Karnatika Brahmans

This photograph of the Karnatika Brahmins was taken by William Johnson. This image originally formed a part of a series called ‘Photographs of Western India’ (1855-1862) by William Johnson. It reappeared in his later publication ‘The Oriental Races and Tribes, Residents and Visitors of Bombay’ (1863 and 1866). The series gives a glimpse into the… Read more »

Fisherwomen of Bombay

This photograph of the Fisherwomen of Bombay is by William Johnson.  The Kolis (fishing community) are oldest known inhabitants of the seven islands that make up this city, they have lived here for centuries—some say since 600 BCE. This community may not be as visible on the city’s bustling streets as they once were, but… Read more »

India and its Native Princes

On June 20, 1864, French writer and photographer Louis Rousselet boarded the Veetis, an English steamer bound for the east, from Marseilles. He arrived in Bombay in the middle of monsoon in early July, and stayed on in India for six years, travelling the country and photographing his observations. At the end of his travels,… Read more »

The Campaign in India, 1857-58

The Campaign in India 1857-58 rare book comes from Captain George Franklin Atkinson (1822–1859), the famous author of Curry and Rice, and is illustrated with forty plates. Atkinson was a Captain of the Bengal Engineers, part of the British Indian Army stationed in the Bengal Presidency. The book illustrates the British response to the Uprising… 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 »

Group of Dogras, Kashmir

This is a photograph taken by Francis Frith in 1875 of four members of the Dogra community from Jammu & Kashmir. Francis Frith, then an owner of a grocery business, 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… Read more »

Kashmiri Brahmins, Kashmir

This is a photograph taken by Francis Frith in 1875 of two Kashmiri Brahmins who are cloth sellers by profession. Francis Frith, then an owner of a grocery business, 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… Read more »

Todas, Indigenous Tribe from Nilgiri Hills

This is an ethnographic photograph from the People of India album. It shows the Toda tribe of the Nilgiris in Tamil Nadu. They were traditionally pastoralists who used shoals (Nilgiri copses) as building materials, shade and centres for ritual activities. The original People of India albums were issued in 1868. They were initially conceived as… Read more »

Udasees from the Sutlej

This photograph from the 1860 book, ‘People of India’ is captioned ‘Udasees from Sutlej.’ It carries the sign of the photo studio Shepherd & Robertson, which later became the long-running Bourne & Shepherd studio in Kolkata. Udasis are ascetics who follow the teachings of Srichand, son of Guru Nanak. These monks wear matted locks and… Read more »