Elephant Group

Artist: Unknown

Date: 1860s–70s

Medium: Albumen silver print from glass negative

Dimensions: 24.8 x 30.6 cm (9 3/4 x 12 1/16 in.)

Classification: Photographs

Credit Line: Gift of Matthew Dontzin, 1985

Accession Number: 1985.1168.59


The technology for photography arrived in India in the 1840s and quickly became popular among the local rulers-many of whom employed photographers at their courts-as well as the British who had come to make their fortunes in the colony. For both populations, the new medium replaced painting as the method for recording the local landscape, architecture, people, and important events. Certain types of photographs became especially popular and are common to many albums from this period. This photograph, with several Europeans accompanied by servants and conveyed by elephants, represents such a type. It might have been taken during a hunt or a survey of newly conquered lands.