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Sotheby's auction to showcase historic photographs of India


Several hundred historic photographs of the Indian subcontinent, dating back to mid and late 1800s -- just a few decades after the first photograph is said to have been clicked -- will go under the hammer at a Sotheby's London auction here on November 13.

Part of the "Travel, Atlases, Maps and Natural History" sale by the auction house, many photographs are early portraits and group shots of the Indian 'maharajas', 'nawaabs', 'sultans', and armymen, along with prints of temples and everyday life.

The "India: Shepherd & Robertson, And Others" collection of 21 photographs from the Sven Gahlin collection includes photographs of "the Maharaja Scindia of Gwalior, the Maharaja Holkar, Bhali Sooltans, and the Maharaja of Bhurtpore, among others", the sale catalogue read.

Some photographs in this collection were shown at the exhibition "Photography in India, 1858-1980, a survey", at the Photographers' Gallery London, 1982, it added.

Also on offer are 213 photographs in an "India and Nepal" collection (the 1880s), including a series on Indian and Nepalese royalty, portraits of Tibetan people, trade, "big game hunting" trips, and views in Darjeeling and Nepal.

Other collections, giving a visual insight into the colonial military groups of India, will feature in the day-long sale.

As per the catalogue, these are albums with photographs of Sikh regiments, British military and government groups, officers and soldiers clicked with wives or families, and early military camps in Indian Hills.

A separate collection shows temples from the 19th century from Udaipur, Chittorgarh and other Indian locations, Sotheby's said.

Holding archival value, these photographs and prints give a glimpse of a colonial, royal and everyday life of several decades with a little visual record.

Many other collections feature line drawings, early atlases and maps, globes, manuscripts and other archival records from around the world.

(With inputs from agencies.)

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