Amer Fort and palace, from the album "Views in India" - ROM2013_13204_18


Amer Fort and palace, from the album "Views in India"

Medium:Albumen print mounted on album page
Geography: Amer, Rajasthan, India
Date: 1884 (printed 1888)
19.4 x 27.2 cm
Object number: 2004.31.1.21
Credit Line: This acquisition was made possible with the generous support of the Louise Hawley Stone Charitable Trust
Not on view

This photograph is part of an album of "Views in India" compiled by Raja Deen Dayal in 1888. Amer Fort was originally built by the Raja of Amer, Man Singh (r. 1589-1614) and additions were made by Maharaja Jai Singh (r. 1699–1743). The fortress is essentially a palace complex, and an underground tunnel linked the palaces to the more defendable Jaigarh Fort visible on the summit of the hill behind the palace on this photograph. Note how Dayal captures several animal transports on the road in the foreground to convey a sense of activity, yet their legs are not moving, indicating they have been posed there by the photographer. Negative #1759.

Raja Deen Dayal was one of the most prominent of India’s photographers in the 19th century, opening three successful studios in Indore, Hyderabad, and Bombay. Trained in surveying at the Thomason Engineering College at Roorkee, Dayal joined the Public Works Department in the Central India Agency based at Indore. He began taking photographs in 1874 during the tour of the Prince of Wales and incorporated photography into his survey work, accompanying Sir Lepel Griffin on a photographic tour of Central India in 1882 and documenting the renovations of Sanchi from 1882 through 1884. From 1885-1887, Dayal took a two-year furlough to test his ability as an independent commercial photographer. He photographed the Camp-of-Exercise at Delhi and became known for his photographs of military manoeuvres. During this period he also won a number of medals at exhibitions and contributed regularly to the London illustrated weekly, The Graphic.

In 1887 Dayal settled in Hyderabad, India’s wealthiest princely territory at the time, where he established a successful photographic firm by securing the patronage of the Hyderbadi elite as well as the large population of British soldiers stationed at the cantonments in and around Secunderabad. In 1894, Deen Dayal was appointed official photographer to Mahbub Ali Khan, the 6th Nizam of Hyderabad (r. 1869-1911) and received the title of Raja. In 1897, the Dayal Studios was given the Royal Warrant from Queen Victoria, the only photographic firm in India to be bestowed such an honour. He opened his third commercial studio in Bombay on 1 January 1897, serving the elite and merchant classes of the growing urban metropolitan centre. By the mid 1890s, the name "Deen Dayal" no longer referred to a single photographer, but rather denoted a successful commercial photographic firm, which, at its height, boasted almost fifty staff members. Raja Deen Dayal & Sons flourished with the help of Dayal’s three sons, Dhyanchand, Dharamchandra, and Gyanchand. The firm even had a noticeable presence at the 1903 Delhi Durbar. After a series of personal tragedies (the death of two of Dayal’s sons) and financial misfortunes, the Hyderabad Studio was the only one of the multiple locations to survive much beyond Dayal’s death in 1905. It was run by Gyanchand and later by his son Amichand, both of whom were prominent photographers of their time.

South Asia
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