ca.1895. Oblong Large Folio (ca. 33x46 cm or 13x18 in). 30 stiff card leaves. With 81 mounted gelatin silver prints, including 41 large photos 20,5x28 cm (8 x 11 in), the rest are from ca. 10,5x15,5 cm (4 ¼ x 6 in) to ca. 13,5x20 cm (5 ¼ x 8 in). All photos with printed captions on the paper labels mounted under the images. Luxurious Handsome period black full morocco album with elaborate gold tooled borders on both boards and the spine; front board with gilt lettered title and gilt tooled coat of arms of the Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir; moiré endpapers, all edges gilt. Binder's label attached to the upper corner of the front pastedown endpaper ("Bound at the Caxton Works, Bombay"). Front cover with minor scratches, some leaves with very minor chipping, a couple of photos with mild silvering, but overall a very good album.
A beautiful album in a period custom made presentation binding with unusual and interesting views of Kashmir taken by the official photographer of the Princely State Dewan Alim Chand. The album opens with ten views of Kashmir’s capital Jammu showing the suspension bridge across the Tawi River, the Prince of Wales College, the Raghunath Temple, public library and museum, Amar Mahal Palace, the town from the Fortress of Bahu, the Maharaja’s palaces, army headquarters, arcade round the octagonal spring at Verinag, and others. There is also a group of twenty-five views of Jhelum River, Srinagar and environs, showing Sri Pratap Sindh museum, the Residency, several city panoramas taken from the river, Sher Garhi Palace, Raja Hari Singh’s villa, Shah Hamdan Mosque, the barrage below Srinagar, Takht-e-Sulaiman Mountain, Hari Parbat Hill with the Durrani Fort, water reservoir at Harwan, silk factory (with the photos of the exterior, workmen boiling cocoons, dying silk fibres, reeling in silk, and a warehouse with the twisted bundles of silk ready for dispatch), Nishat Bagh garden, Shalamar Bagh, Nasim Bagh, and others. Very interesting is a group of 12 photos taken on the route to the Hindu Amarnath Cave Temple, including several pilgrims’ camps (at Aishmuqam village, Pahalgam, Chandanwari and Panj Tarni), Lidder River valley near Pahalgam, “the mountainous track leading to the cave of Amarnath,” Sheshnag Lake, entrance to the cave, the main object of worship – the Ice Lingam inside the cave, and Hatyara Talao Lake on the way back.
Other photos show the ruins of Awanti Swami Temple in Awantipora, Achhabal village, the chinar tree at Shadipur which is believed to be the confluence of rivers Indus (Sind) and Jhelum (Vitasta), Kheer Bhawani temple erected over a sacred spring in the Tul Mul village, Lake Manasbal, Wular Lake, Jhelum River at Baramulla, hydroelectric plant in Mohra (built in 1907), six views of Gulmarg (Kashmir Residency, palace of the Maharaja, the club, the bazaar, Raja Hari Singh’s quarters, the church and Nedou Hotel, Taru mountain at Ahal Parti); several views of Gandarbal (banks of the Sindh River with the ruins of the old bridge, the new bridge, and others), images of the upper Sindh River Valley, one of the ancient Vangata Temples, Lolab Valley, local artisans’ production (wood carving, silver & copper ware, papier-mâché), and others; the album closes with a well-known Alim Chand’s photo of “the stag in solitude.”
Dewan Alim Chand had a publishing house in Jammu, the capital of Kashmir (several publications can be found in Worldcat, dating 1876-1924), and in the 1890s took a series of views of Kashmir and portraits of its royalty in the capacity of the Princely State’s official photographer. He was mentioned in the list of the attendants of the 1911 Coronation Delhi Durbar as a “State photographer” of Kashmir (Coronation Durbar, Delhi 1911. Official Directory with Maps. Calcutta, 1911. Part 2. Civil and Central Camps, p. 215). This album with specially prepared printed captions and a luxurious decorative binding was most likely produced in a small copy run and given as a present to a high-ranking state official or British colonial administrator. An album with similar description (the same photographer, topic, and number of photos) was found in the collection of the National Army Museum (Chelsea, London).
Price: $4,500.00 USD