A Treasure Trove Of Indian History In London’s Gallery

The Indian Treasures Exhibition

Getty Images Gallery, London

Till October 7

Decades worth of treasures frozen in perpetuity — that is what The Indian Treasures exhibition at the Getty Images Gallery is all about. Marking the 70th year of India’s Independence, this exhibition showcases the earliest photographic views of the subcontinent. The landscapes and portraits were photographed predominantly by Europeans. As such, the style and composition of the works reflect a somewhat romantic aesthetic familiar to the Victorian era tourists and temporary residents seeking a distinctive memento of their time here.

Much of the material for Indian Treasures exhibition was sourced from the Getty Archive’s fabled Vintage Room. Highlights include four large period albums, recently restored, revealing proud Maharajahs bedecked in pearls and precious stones as well as dozens of vintage large-format glass plate negatives and albumen prints. The exhibition also features colour prints made using the rarely seen photocrom process.

The exhibition is a collaborative effort between the Archive’s editors, conservator, darkroom and the gallery. The Maharajahs featured in Indian Treasures are believed to have been photographed during a London visit, probably for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.