Feb 10, 2022 - Sale 2594

Sale 2594 - Lot 1

Price Realized: $ 15,000
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 6,000 - $ 9,000
An album with 60 photographs celebrating the investiture of Maharaja Jagatjit Singh of Kapurthala.

This album represents one of the most comprehensive photographic depictions of a 19th century maharaja and his court. With his titles, riches, affairs, and estates, the Maharaja Jagatjit Singh of Kapurthala was internationally known as the epitome of Indian royalty. His coronation album includes both formal and informal portraits of Jagatjit Singh and his fellow princes, his administrators and distinguished guests, including Prince Albert Victor on a pig sticking expedition, taken three years before his death. The album includes views of Jagatjit Singh's palaces, private and public buildings, and the palace grounds. There are images of Kapurthala's royal stable, his elephants (including his famously enormous state pachyderm), his horses (with a striking image of the Maharaja on his favorite steed), his dogs, durbars, tennis games, and remarkable images of His Highness's servants pedaling Jagatjit Singh and his chihuahua in a velocipede and paddle boat. Included are views of the city market, temples, and a two-panel panorama of Kapurthala. Albumen prints, the images measuring approximately 9 1/2x11 3/4 inches (24.1x29.8 cm.), and slightly smaller, and the reverse, mounted recto/verso, each with a caption, in ink, on the mount. Oblong leather folio, with the gilt-lettered title "Kapurthala;" with a new leather spine replacing the cloth spine that had been applied by Maria Brothers in Simla; signed by Jagatjit Singh in 1891 on the front free endpaper. 1890

Additional Details

Jagatjit Singh of Kapurthala created an image of himself as a dashing, romantic figure. He became famous in his day for his spectacular gems and his secularism. He traveled the world, served as British India's representative to the League of Nations, received 28 Grand Crosses.

Believing himself the incarnation of Louis IV, he spoke fluent French, built a palace after Versailles, hosted lavish parties in Paris and on the Riviera, and added a Spanish dancer and a Czech countess to his harem of four.

Though it appears that this album was meant to be a souvenir, we have not been able to locate another copy (including in the Kapurthala family's collection, the Royal Collection, and the India Office Library).

Given the quality of the photographs, we propose the photographer may have been Lala Deen Dayal who at this time was the Viceroy's official photographer.