COUPLE DRESSED AS RAJA AND GYPSY FOR “FANCY DRESS BALL” (INDIA 1894)

GYPSY INDIA

This cabinet card offers a fascinating portrait of a couple dressed for a costume party occurring in India. The couple are either in the country on holiday or perhaps the man is assigned to work there by his government. Inscriptions on the reverse of the photograph provide some explanatory information about the image. The photograph was taken 9/24/1894. The couple is wearing the costumes that they wore to a “Fancy dress ball” that was held on 9/20/1894. The gentleman is dressed as a Raja while the woman is dressed a a gypsy. She is holding a tambourine. This photograph was taken by a well know Indian studio. Theodore Julius Hoffmann and P. A. Johnston established a commercial photography studio in Calcutta (1882) and Darjeeling (1890). They also operated a studio in Simla. Johnston and Hoffmann’s photography business was the second largest commercial photography studio in India in that period. Many of their images were of North and Northeast India as well as Sikkim and Nepal. To view other photographs this pair of photographers, click on the category “Photographer: Johnston and Hoffmann”.

MAN POSING FOR PHOTOGRAPHER IN CALCUTTA, INDIA

Calcutta, India is the location at which this cabinet card photograph was taken. The studio of Johnston and Hoffmann were the photographers. The reverse of the card has the stamp of Austrian lithographer, Bernard Wachtl of Vienna. Calcutta is the current capitol of the Indian state of West Bengal located in eastern India. However, at the time of this photograph and until 1911, during the British Raj (colonial rule), Calcutta was the capitol of India. It would be interesting to know why this gentleman was in India and something about his identity, but this information has been lost over time. Research reveals some information about the photographers. Theodore Julius Hoffmann and P. A. Johnston established a commercial photography studio in Calcutta (1882) and Darjeeling (1890). Their studio is considered to be the second largest commercial photography studio in India in that period. Many of their images were of North and Northeast India as well as Sikkim and Nepal. To view other cabinet cards from India, click on the category “India”. To view other works by Bernard Wachtl, click on the category “Lithographers: Bernard Wachtl”.