From a limited edition of 50
Archival pigment inks on Hahnemuhle paper
Each printed area size :
a) j) 7 x 9.5 in (17.5 x 23.75 cm)
b) d) i) n) q) 10 x 7.5 in (25 x 18.75 cm)
c) r) 10 x 6.5 in (25 x 16.25 cm)
e) 9.5 x 7 in (23.75 x 17.5 cm)
f) 8 x 9 in (20 x 22.5 cm)
g) h) 7.5 x 9.5 in (18.75 x 23.75 cm)
k) l) 8 x 9.5 in (20 x 23.75 cm)
m) 9 x 8 in (22.5 x 20 cm)
o) 10 x 7 in (25 x 17.5 cm)
p) 9.5 x 6 (23.75 x 15 cm)
s) 10 x 7 in (25 x 17.5 cm)
t) 9.5 x 7.5 in (23.75 x 18.75 cm)

Sheet area size:
14 x 11 in (35 x 27.5 cm)

Portfolio size: 14.5 x 11.5 x 1.5 in (36.8 x 29.2 x 3.8 cm)
Modern restored reproductions from original photographs from the Tasveer Foundation collection

This portfolio will be shipped 2 weeks from the date of payment confirmation
StoryLTD Ref No: 37588
  • Rs 65,000 (exc GST)
  • $1,083


Set of 20 prints

For shipping charges click the “Add to Bag” button.

Ships out in 7 to 10 business days



a) Reclining lady, Photograher Unknown, c. 1870
Studio portrait of an unknown woman reclining on a chaise lounge. Her traditional attire of sari and jewellery is in stark contrast with the Victorian furniture and painted backdrop of the studio, yet photography demanded such relocations of persons and surroundings.

b) A lady at her toilette, Photograher Unknown, c. 1910
A lady being dressed by three maids, as they stand against a full size mirror obscured from the viewer. This could be a theatrical scene, gauged from the lady’s frontal posture as she faces away from the mirror and towards an audience, while the maid behind her gesticulates another to stay silent.

c) A lady carrying a pot, Photograher Unknown, c. 1870
Portrait of a rural woman carrying a vessel on her head and holding another in her hand. The space suggests an open ground where a makeshift studio was set up for the photograph, facilitated mostly by the painted backdrop. There is incongruence between the subject and the sweeping palatial staircase in the backdrop, yet studio photography allowed for such juxtapositions.

d) Portrait of two Marwari, Photograher Unknown
A late 19th century studio portrait of two Marwari women, holding hands. They appear against a painted background of outdoor scenery, while being dressed in rich clothing and heavy jewellery.

e) Portrait of a lady, Photograher Unknown, c. 1880
A studio portrait of a woman in a printed sari, posing against a column and bearing a jug-like vessel in her free hand. Studios allowed for otherwise incongruent materiality to temporarily belong to a sitter for the sake of a photograph. Here, the hazy background of foliage and a banister could have actually been far removed from the subject’s reality, leaving her context unexplained to the viewer.

f) Group portrait, E Taurines, c. 1875
A group of Marathi women, perhaps related, seated and standing in the verandah of a house, c. 1875. They stand in near lateral symmetry along the staircase and banisters, with their arms resting along the latter, or on their laps. Their gaze suggests that they were confident in front of the camera, perhaps because they were part of a theatre troop. The small figure of a boy on the left corner is blurred due to movement, almost merging him into the white wall behind.

g) Parsi group portrait, Photograher Unknown, c. 1880
A studio portrait of extended family members of the Parsi community. Each member is dressed in traditional clothing; note the matching prints worn by the two young girls lying at the bottom of the image. The head matriarch is seated at the centre, and there are notably more women than men in the group.

h) Group portrait, possibly Bengal, Photograher Unknown, c. 1900
A group of young women standing in a garden or orchard, c. 1900, perhaps in Bengal. They stand casually, without a compulsion to face the camera hinting that this may be a group of extended relatives or friends at a casual event. They all wear saris in a similar fashion, which is modern. A couple of them wear sleeveless blouses and one has her head uncovered, indicating a private assembly where the photographer might have been known to them.

i) Dancing girls, E Taurines, c. 1880
A famous photograph of Nautch girls by the photographer/studio E. Taurines. Taurines’ claim to fame was an extensive photographic record of the construction of the Victoria Dock, Bombay. Taurines was in partnership for a short time, 1891 - 1892, with Charles Nicond under the name of Taurines, Nicond & Co.

j) Lobby card from the movie 'Daal Mein Kaala', Photograher Unknown, 1964
Lobby card for the comedy film ‘Daal Mein Kaala’ (dir. Satyen Bose, 1964), with the actress Nimmi (b. 1933, real name: Nawab Banoo) as the heroine. Nimmi poses here in a set of a pond in a building’s courtyard, singing a duet with Kishore Kumar ‘do aankhein janani, do aankhein mardani, gupchup gupchup baat karein’.

k) Lobby card with the actress Nimmi, Photograher Unknown, 1961
Lobby card with the actress Nimmi (b. 1933, real name: Nawab Banoo) from the film ‘Shama’ (dir. Lekhraj Bhakri, 1961). The story of the film revolves around Shama’s unrequited love for the poet Parvez (played by Vijay Dutt), whose wedding she arranges with Roshan Ara (played by Suraiyya). Shama remains an unmarried, tragic figure in the end of the film.

l) Portrait of the actress Saira Banu, Photograher Unknown, c. 1965
Portrait of the actress Saira Banu (b. 1944), married to Dilip Kumar. Banu’s debut film was Junglee (1961) opposite Shammi Kapoor. She acted in several successful films including Padosan (1968), Purab aur Paschim (1971), Zameer (1975), Aadmi aur Insaan (1969) and others. This is an image of the young Saira, probably taken in a studio with soft lighting.

m) Lobby card from the movie 'Pehli Jhalak', Aristo Cine Service, Mumbai, 1955
Lobby card of actress Vyjayanthimala playing Beena in the film ‘Pehli Jhalak’ (dir. M. V. Raman, 1955). This portrait is shot during the song ‘ham dard jo banta hai, gareebonka zamaana, ye bhi hai amiron keliye bahana’. She is dressed as a courtesan in a play and sings to an audience from the stage (singer: Lata Mangeshkar).

n) Lobby card from the movie 'Shree 420', Photograher Unknown, 1955
An iconic lobby card of Raj Kapoor and Nargis as Ranbir Raj and Vidya respectively in the film ‘Shree 420’ (dir.Raj Kapoor, 1955). This is a shot from the song ‘pyar hua ikraar hua hai’ sung by the actors huddled under an umbrella in the rain (singers: Lata Mangeshkar and Manna Dey). The song appears at a point in the film when Vidya and Raju declare love for each other amidst the challenges of urban poverty and struggle.

o) Portrait of the actress Nargis, Photograher Unknown, c. 1960
A facial portrait of the actress Nargis (1929-1981), of the real name Fatima Rashid, shown here with a cigarette. She beholds the suggestion of a westernised character with negative attributes, for the typical Indian heroine as ideal woman was never shown smoking. The figure here is similar to her double role in the film ‘Anhonee’ (1952) in which she appears as Mohini, a dancing girl who smokes and schemes against her ideal sister – Roop.

p) Portrait of a lady's back, Photograher Unknown, c. 1870
An unusual portrait of a woman with her back turned towards the camera. Such an image would have not been taken for the client herself, but possibly for an ethnographic study. It would typically be part of a set of two images – with the other depicting her body frontally. Gauging from her garments, she appears south Indian, wearing the chequered pattern of textile from Tamil Nadu for a sari and a striped silk blouse. The photograph allows for the silver ornaments in her hair and neck to be seen from behind.

q) Portrait of a lady, Photograher Unknown, c. 1880
Portrait of a young woman, heavily bejewelled and richly dressed. She appears young, and her attire indicates membership to a wealthy social class. The image captures in great clarity, the heavily patterned textile of her blouse and dupatta, as well as details of the upholstered chair she supports herself with.

r) Portrait of Vijayaraje Scindia, Hamilton Studios, c. 1940
A full-length portrait of Vijayaraje Scindia, Maharani of Gwalior (1919-2001), taken c. 1940 by Hamilton Studios, Mumbai. She is dressed here as a princess in a rich gold-bordered sari with her head covered, and leans against a pillar with a flower bouquet. She was born Lekha Divyeshwari, and was politically very active in both houses of parliament.

s) Maharani Menaka Devi, Lenare Studios, c. 1940
Attributed to Maharani Menaka Devi, younger sister to the Maharani of Jaipur, Gayatri Devi, married to Maharaja Yeshwantrao Puar of Dewas Jr., a princely state of Madhya Pradesh. Menaka Devi is here dressed in a sari but her short bob indicates westernised taste. This falls in line with the liberal ways of the house of Cooch Behar where her parents Indira Raje and Jitendra Narayan were regents. The photograph was taken at Lenare Studios, 28 George Street, Hanover square at Mayfair.

t) Portrait of Maharani Gayatri Devi, Vivianne, London, c. 1945
Studio portrait of an unknown woman reclining on a chaise lounge. Her traditional attire of sari and jewellery is in stark contrast with the Victorian furniture and painted backdrop of the studio, yet photography demanded such relocations of persons and surroundings.

About Subjects & Spaces: Women in Indian Photography, 1850s – 1950s

This exhibition presents a unique selection of images from the archives of the Tasveer Foundation, including studio portraits, film stills, post cards, cabinet cards and lobby cards. These various photographic mediums take us on a journey from colonial studies of Indian women in the 19th century, to private studio portraits from the early 20th century, and then to iconic and glamorous photographs of Bollywood actresses in the mid 20th century. In doing so, the exhibition offers a unique insight into the social and cultural milieu of an important period of Indian history, whilst investigating the function of the photographic medium during this time.

Rather than a chronological presentation, the photographs seen here are divided into five distinct sections, investigating the social and cultural status of women within a variety of settings, or spaces. From indoor, domestic spaces that demonstrate ‘ideals’ of demure, chaste womanhood, to the performative spaces (within cinema and theatre), where women were represented in enclosures of fantasy and sexuality, to the abstract spaces, exploring pictorial self-representation. This segmentation encourages us to look at how spacial enclosures may alter the viewer’s perception of the subject.

Juxtaposing iconic images of cinema legends such as Nargis and Vyjayanthimala, with women that remain anonymous and nameless, also invites us to engage with the gaze of subjects, eliciting the identity of the sitter through clues from within the space – dresses, garments, props and poses. Provoking a dialogue between the public gaze and the private self, between national and international audiences, between coded notions of respectability and morality and in doing so, investigating the representational power of the female form.

You may also like

  • Rs 1,10,000 | $1,550 Untitled
    48 in x 36 in
  • Rs 85,000 | $1,198 Colonel Hathi
    29 in x 21 in
  • Rs 2,000 | $29 Elephant
    8 in x 8 in
  • Rs 2,000 | $29 Elephant
    Unknown Medium
    10 in x 10 in
  • Rs 1,100 | $16 Elephant
    Unknown Medium
    8 in x 8 in
  • Rs 6,500 | $92 Animal Procession
    Unknown Medium
    14 in x 25 in


StoryLTD provides an assurance on behalf of the seller that each object we offer for sale is genuine and authentic.