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Indian portrait album, 1880

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Indian portrait album

Scope and Content of Collection

The album presented to the Honorable M. Mowat from H. H. J. contains 122 carte-de-visite and 11 cabinet card portraits of Indian sitters and related subjects by various photographers. The album may have been compiled by a member of the Jeejeebhoy family, whose portraits predominate at the beginning of the album.

The portraits are arranged in groups identified by religion such as: Parsee gentlemen; Hindoo gentlemen; Mahomedan gentlemen; Parsee ladies; Hindoo ladies; Hindoo songstresses; and Hindoo mythological idols. Portraits of Parsees predominate, although Hindus and Muslims are also well-represented. Many of the sitters, who include maharajas, officials, and members of prominent families, are identified by name. Others, including some of the family groups, are identified only by ethno-religious denominators. Images of unnamed tradespersons are also interspersed in the album. Some of the portraits and religious images are photographic reproductions of paintings; there are also photographs of sculptures.

While the makers of the majority of the photographs are as yet unidentified as the card slots obscure most of the photographers' imprints, the following photographers or studios have been identified: Bourne & Shepherd; John Burke; Hurrychund Chintamon; Photographie Parisienne, Bombay; Shapoorjee Hormusjee; Vussuntrao Hurrychund & Co.; Rustomjee Jamsetjee; David Sykes; and P. Vuccino & Co.

The album is bound in brown morocco leather with a partial brass clasp remaining on the foredge of the front cover. The intials M. M. are gilt stamped on the front cover. An embroidered inscription inserted in the first opening reads: To / the Hon'ble / M. Mowat / from H. H. J. / Bombay / 14th May 1880. A binder's ticket pasted on back free endpaper reads: W. Butcher and Son / Blackheath / London S.E.

The category headings and individual sitter identifications written in brown ink on many of the mounts have been used as page titles and titles of individual photographs respectively. The titles for pages and photographs lacking annotations have been devised by the cataloger. The photographs are cartes-de-visite (four per page), unless noted as being cabinet cards.


In original order.

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