History

Waterhouse Photographs – Bhopal and surroundings

In a compelling chapter on sartorial conventions by Rosemary Crill from the V&A, London, Crill describes the begums as ‘wearing an elaborate embroidered and plumed hat and, like so many of Waterhouse’s subjects, apparently enjoying the photographic session. How Waterhouse arranged the photographing of Shah Jahan is unclear, since although a number of portraits were made, in one of his notes Waterhouse briefly mentions that her photograph was ‘taken inpurdah, so I did not see her’. Presumably, the general arrangements for the photographs were made in her absence, possibly with a stand-in, and then Waterhouse either withdrew, leaving an assistant to make the actual exposure, or perhaps operated the camera himself, while concealed behind a curtain of some sort.’

An article by the Curator of Alkazi Foundation for the Arts. An exhibition of photographs based on the book, The Waterhouse Albums: Central India Provinces, edited by John Falconer and published by Alkazi Collection of Photography and Mapin, will run at Shridharani Gallery, Triveni Kala Sangam, New Delhi from 18 December to 6 January

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