Want to know what our country looked like at the start of the 20th century? If you live in New Delhi, head to the National Museum for a look at Historical Indian Photographs—a selection of 70 images on display from the collection of Jean Philippe Vogel (1871-1958), a Dutch archeologist, employed in the services of Archaeological Survey of India from 1901-1913.
The black and white images, photographed by various photographers, bring alive an era that must have been exciting for archeologists out to discover the evolution of the Indian civilization. Organized in association with the Embassy of the Kingdom of The Netherlands, and National Museum Institute, New Delhi, the photographs are a part of an original collection of 10,000 photographs of the Kern Institute. “These 70 images were a careful selection that pair beauty to context, both archaeologically as photo-historically. I would like to call them jewels of photography with a story,” says Gerda Theuns-de Boer, art historian for South and Southeast Asia at the Kern Institute, University of Leiden, who curated the exhibition. She is also the author of A Vision of Splendour: Indian Heritage in the Photographs of Jean Philippe Vogel, 1901-1913.
The book is lavishly illustrated and though scholarly in rigour, it is written in a style that is readable for anyone interested in Indian heritage. “The many quality photographs in the book will guide the reader and be an eye-opener about this country’s rich cultural heritage,” she says.
At the National Museum, New Delhi, till 31 March.