Book Description
Calcutta [Kolkata], circa 1857-1860. Substantial lot of 30 rare albumen carte-de-visite photographs by F.W. Baker, renowned photographers and one of the earliest in India, illustrating the trades and costumes of various social classes in Bengal, during the first few years of British Crown rule in India. Photographs measure approximately 9 x 5,5 cm to 9 x 6cm, mounted onto cdv cardstock with photographer's monogram stamp to verso, mounts measuring approximately 10,5 x 6,2 cm. Verso text: "By Appointment. Photographed from life by Mr FW Baker, Calcutta." Some mounts are further stamped with photographer's name and/or advertisement statement to front. Contained in a black leather book-styled slipcase with gilt title 'Photographs' to spine, inner lining of floral-patterned paper and gilt floral paper to inner extremities. Slipcase measures approximately 11 x 7 x 3 cm. Very slight age-toning, otherwise in very good original condition, beautifully preserved, vivid images. Baker's work is exceedingly scare; to find a large lot as presented here is simply unseen in any condition.
Dealer Notes
As foreign commerce was only just beginning in India, at the dawn of the British Raj, Baker immigrated to Calcutta and quickly established one of the very first photography studios in 1857. A brilliant artist and savvy entrepreneur, he immediately began photographing the locals in such a way to capture the unique and varied costume and the trades of all social classes in northern India. Selling to the European market, he was immensely successful. The present lot includes some of the earliest and scarcest of his works.

Baker's photographs of northern India are early, beautifully composed, and insightful in terms of showing his nineteenth century audience the lives of a multi-faceted foreign society of British colonial interest! His work now forms a remarkable and invaluable vestige of foremost photography in British India.
Author F. W. Baker
Date circa 1857-1860
Condition slight age-toning, otherwise in very good original condition, beautifully preserved, vivid images. Baker's work is exceedingly scare; to find a large lot as presented here is simply unseen in any condition.

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