Feb 21, 2019 - Sale 2499

Sale 2499 - Lot 258

Price Realized: $ 23,750
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 6,000 - $ 9,000
INDUSTRIAL INDIA, WITH 6 PANORAMAS (INDIA & CEYLON) Shivshanker Narayen (active 1860s–90s)
Album with 80 accomplished photographs depicting large-scale civic engineering projects in India, including multiple protomodernist views of bridges, and 6 remarkable two- and three-part panoramas by Narayen.
The artistically composed images feature elegant views of enormous public structures, which are shown with and without the scale of a human figure. Includes: a train depot in Bombay, bridges in Nerhudda, multiple views of the North Purna river bridge, variant views of the low level bridge over Mahi River, the new Nerbudda Bridge, laborers working along railroad tracks near Pali, the Kakra Khadi Diversion, hundreds of turbanned workers laying tracks in the Culvert in Keem, and more. With views of the Mechanics Institute, a portait of a Ceylonese Chief, scenes of Kandy, and indigenous peoples with roaming elephants in a tropical setting. Albumen prints, the portraits measuring 7x5 1/2 inches (17.8x28.6 cm.), the views 8 3/4x11 1/4 to 10 1/2x25 3/4 inches (22.2x28.6 to 26.x65.4 cm.), mounted recto/verso, most with captions and dates, in pencil, on mount recto, and 2 with Narayen's hand stamp on print verso. Oblong folio, morocco, worn and scuffed, backstrip split. 1883-84

Additional Details

Originally from the archive of John Montgomery Sleater (1826-1902), a British engineer, who had a long history with the Central India Railway Company. He became chief engineer in 1882 and, later, was acting agent of the entire system from Bombay to Dhili.

The Indian photographer Narayan, who operated a "School of Art" in Bombay, was a singular artist whose panoramic views were artfully composed. Author and curator Susan Hapgood has written that 'Bombay's unique role as a commercial crossroads, with a direct tie to England, led to its very early embrace of the medium.'