Images sourced from various scrapbooks, albums, glass plate negatives and vintage prints held in Getty Images’ Hulton Archive have gone on view in a free exhibition in London.
“A complex landscape and medley of influences, India has long been a springboard for the imagination”
Indian Treasures, an exhibition marking the 70th anniversary of India’s independence from Britain, which will be on view from 2 August to 7 October 2017. Drawn from the renowned Getty Images Hulton Archive, the largest and most comprehensive photographic archive in private hands, the exhibition reveals some of the earliest views of India and its people recorded using photography.
The images have been sourced from various scrapbooks, albums, glass plate negatives and vintage prints held in the Archive – many of which have gone unseen for decades – and include a diverse range of subjects, from one of the earliest photographic views of the Taj Mahal to portraits of Maharajas, musicians, and snake charmers. The exhibition includes a group of 19th and early 20th century prints on temporary loan from the Archive, as well as museum-quality prints made using the latest dark room techniques which are available for purchase in limited editions and in a range of sizes; these images have been subject to eight months of digital restoration to ensure their historical integrity.
Matthew Butson, Vice President, Getty Images Archive said: “A complex landscape and medley of influences, India has long been a springboard for the imagination, not least for some of photography’s pioneers. After what has felt like a thrilling archaeological dig, we could not be more excited to share these incredible images – and stories – with gallery visitors.”
Getty Images Gallery Manager, Amie Lewis comments: “Our aim at the Getty Images Gallery is to make accessible to the general public these incredible cultural treasures from the Getty Images Archive. We welcome admirers and collectors alike to immerse themselves in Indian Treasures.”
A leading highlight is a group of remarkable portraits from a four-volume album of photographs which show the princes and rulers of India, bedecked in pearls and precious stones. The album was found to contain a hand-written note revealing that the set has only one other copy which was presented to Queen Victoria, probably for her Diamond Jubilee. Elsewhere a set of studio portraits for a visiting troupe of performers includes images of a conjurer, a dervish, and a juggler.
The exhibition includes a diverse and fascinating selection of landscapes and portraits, including views of notable landmarks from the Taj Mahal to the Himalayas, and including images captured by renowned photographers including Samuel Bourne, John Edward Saché and Felice Beato. Also on view is a series of striking colour prints made using the rarely-seen photocrom process.
The Indian Treasures exhibition takes place from 2nd August to 7th October 2017 at the Getty Images Gallery. An exhibition catalogue will be available for purchase at the Gallery.
Indian Treasures 1st August – 7th October 46 Eastcastle Street, London, W1W 8DX Nearest tube: Oxford Circus