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Albumen Image of the Begum of Bhopal by Bourne & Shepherd

circa 1877-87

actual size if image: 19cm x 12cm, plus backing cardboard.



UK art market.

This albumen print of the Begum Shah Jahan of Bhopal (reigned 1868-1901) shows the Begum in the robes and wearing the insignia of the Knight Grand Commander of the Star of India. There is an Urdu inscription in ink beneath the image.

Begum Shah Jahan was the second of three Muslim woman to rule the state of Bhopal in her own right.

Another contemporary albumen print of this same iconic photograph was included in the ‘Maharaja: The Splendour of India’s Royal Courts’ exhibition held at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum in 2009 and included in a catalogue of the same name.

Another version is also in the Royal Collection and was displayed at the Queen’s Gallery in Buckingham Palace in 2018. It is part of an album of albumen prints dated to around 1887 and produced by Bourne & Shepherd, a photography studio based in India that was patronised by Indian royalty and members of the British Raj.

The image is in fine condition.


Jackson, A., & A. Jaffer, Maharaja: The Splendour of India’s Royal Courts, V&A Publishing, 2009.

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