A spectacular collection of vintage photographs of India is going on sale in an online auction today (Oct. 10).
Hosted by StoryLTD, a platform run by Indian auction house Saffronart, the auction features images, albums, and photo books from some of the very first photographers and photo studios in the country, including the legendary Lala Deen Dayal and Bourne and Shepherd. The subjects are often lavishly dressed maharajas and busy street scenes, besides a number of iconic monuments, from the Taj Mahal in Agra to Hyderabad’s Charminar.
With 103 lots dating from 1840, when photography was first practised in India, right up to the country’s independence in 1947, these images and albums are a historic collection that offers a fascinating view of what the region was like in the 19th century and beyond. Of course, all this doesn’t come cheap—the estimates for individual images and albums range from Rs20,000 ($270) for a photo book of India’s people and places, published in 1896, to as much as Rs7.5 lakh for an album of royal portraits of various maharajas, taken by Vernon & Co, one of Bombay’s (now Mumbai) iconic 19th century photo studios.
For those of us without that much cash to spare, here’s a selection of the photos: