The Costumes and people of India thumbnail 1
The Costumes and people of India thumbnail 2
Not currently on display at the V&A

The Costumes and people of India

Photographs
ca. 1860 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

W. W. Hooper and Surgean G. Western took a group of photographs of ‘native types’ of south India. One of the most striking of these is the photograph of the Akali Sikh in the centre.

The photography of ‘native types’ began as early as 1848-1849 with John McCosh’s calotypes of Sikhs and Madras men. In 1856 the Indian Amateurs Photographic Album became the first publication to use a series of such photographs to depict the ‘Costume and Characters of Western India’. Individuals were shown in costumes or with objects identifying their caste or trade group. The pictures illustrated racial differences as well as regional variations in dress. This group of photographs was probably part of a set of ‘forty-five photographs of native heads’, which was displayed at the London International Exhibition in 1871.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Albumen prints
Brief Description
A group of nine photographs from 'The Costumes and People of India'.
Physical Description
A group of nine portrait photographs showing different types of headgear all mounted together. Each person is identified according to his 'ethnic type' and this is written below the photograph on the mount.

From left to right the top three images are of a 'Mogul', a 'Munshi', an 'Arab Jemadar'. The next row is an 'Arab Horse dealer', a 'Sikh' and a 'Byraghy'. The final row has a 'phorud', a 'parsee boy' and a 'parsee girl'.
Dimensions
  • Image of the sikh height: 18.6cm
  • Image of the sikh width: 12.2cm
Object history
This photograph group of photographs was probably part of a set of 'forty-five photographs of native heads' displayed in the London International Exhibition in 1871.

Transferred from the India Museum in 1879. 1880 Register Entry: [Room 8. On The Wall.] '0932. FRAME, glazed, containing nine photographs of costumes of various races of India.' (No slip number given.)
Historical context
The photography of 'native types' began as early as 1848-9 with John McCosh's calotypes of Sikhs and Madras men, and in 1856 the 'Indian Amateurs Photographic Album' became the first publication to use a series of such photographs to depict the 'Costume and Characters of Western India'. Individuals were shown in costumes or with objects identifying their caste or trade group, and illustrated racial differences as well as regional variations in dress. This photograph group of photographs was probably part of a set of 'forty-five photographs of native heads' displayed in the London International Exhibition in 1871.
Subject depicted
Summary
W. W. Hooper and Surgean G. Western took a group of photographs of ‘native types’ of south India. One of the most striking of these is the photograph of the Akali Sikh in the centre.



The photography of ‘native types’ began as early as 1848-1849 with John McCosh’s calotypes of Sikhs and Madras men. In 1856 the Indian Amateurs Photographic Album became the first publication to use a series of such photographs to depict the ‘Costume and Characters of Western India’. Individuals were shown in costumes or with objects identifying their caste or trade group. The pictures illustrated racial differences as well as regional variations in dress. This group of photographs was probably part of a set of ‘forty-five photographs of native heads’, which was displayed at the London International Exhibition in 1871.
Bibliographic Reference
Stronge, S. (Ed.) "The Arts of the Sikh Kingdoms", V&A, 1999Pl. 230.
Collection
Accession Number
0932(IS)

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record createdDecember 23, 2002
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