Studio photograph of a young boy with attendant / care-giver - R.2020-718


Studio photograph of a young boy with attendant / care-giver

Maker: Herzog & Higgins
Medium:Collodion printing-out paper print
Geography: Mhow (Dr. Ambedhar Nagar), Madhya Pradesh, India
Date: 1894-1899
31.5 x 19 cm
Object number: 2010.68.107
Credit Line: This purchase was made possible with the generous support of the South Asia Research and Acquisition Fund
Not on view

This cabinet card photograph is of a (European?) man sitting on a chair and holding a young Indian boy. According to a hand-written inscription on the back, the boy is called "Hari Narain." The protective almost possessive pose, with the gentleman's hands grasping the child and the intensity of his gaze, suggests the child could be a prince or even successor to a Princely State and the gentleman a British tutor or political agent assigned to the Princely State in the system of Indirect Rule. Conventions of studio portraiture used each element of the photograph, from props to gesture, to convey meaning.

P.A. Herzog & P. Higgins were two englishmen who worked for several photo studios in India before opening their own in the central Indian cantonment town of Mhow in the Indore District where they would be guaranteed a steady stream of solider clients. Their studio continued from 1894 to 1921 (, accessed 20200928). Among the studios that one or both worked for as a way to learn the practice and business of photography in nineteenth-century India were John Blees in Jabulpur, Raja Deen Dayal (likely his Indore studio), and Johnson & Hoffman. The back of their cabinet card indicates they were appointed official photographers to the Earl of Elgin, Viceroy of India from 1894-1899. The photograph was likely taken during this period. See also ROM 2016.97.1.  

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