Volume 66 Number 2, December 2014

Representing Sindh: Images of the British Encounter

By: Rosemary Raza
Binding: Hardcover
Specifications: 140 pages, 143 illustrations
ISBN: 978-93-83243-05-1
Dimensions: 305 x 241 mm

This book presents a wide-ranging examination of the way in which the British recorded their engagement with Sindh, then part of undivided India, in visual terms. Following the early years of exploration, conquest and settlement, the British began to document new aspects of the natural and cultural world of Sindh, from architecture and archaeology to arts and crafts and folklore. Illustration of these areas of engagement was at first relatively restricted. However, the rapidly developing technology of the 19th century, particularly photography, facilitated the dissemination of images in increasingly sophisticated ways, while a burgeoning publishing industry and the growth of the periodical press brought illustration to a greatly extended public.

With a wealth of illustrations of paintings, drawings, prints and photographs from journals, folios, books and periodicals, this book provides a comprehensive and unrivalled picture of the evolution of the way the British portrayed Sindh to the outside world.

Rosemary Raza graduated from Oxford and joined the British Foreign Service. She subsequently spent a number of years in the subcontinent before returning to Oxford to do a DPhil on British women writers on India. She has written books and articles on the subject, as well as the arts of India, and contributed to the Marg volume Sindh: Past Glory, Present Nostalgia (2008).

CONTENTS

Map

Introduction: Picturing Sindh

  1. 1. Early Views
  2. 2. Close Encounters: The Army of the Indus
  3. 3. Enter the Civilians
  4. 4. New Technologies and Widening Interests
  5. 5. Disseminating Images: Periodicals, Photo-studios, Postcards
  6. 6. Heroes and Villains

Bibliography

Index

Introduction: Picturing Sindh
Raza, Rosemary
Vol. 66 No. 2, December 2014; ISBN: 978-93-83243-05-1, pp. 9-11

While images, with their technical limitations, of Sindh in the 19th and early 20th century brought the land and its people to the attention of the outside world in an unprecedented manner, the picture that was presented was largely shaped by its colonial rulers. They were clearly more than mere invaders and conquerors. Military, naval and draughtsmen artists reflected their curiosity and enthusiasm by documenting costumes, customs, monuments and scenery through drawing and watercolour painting. It was Sindh’s conquest and settlement that first accounted for its newsworthiness, and subsequently its economic development and place in the wide-ranging network of imperial rule.

Early Views
Raza, Rosemary
Vol. 66 No. 2, December 2014; ISBN: 978-93-83243-05-1, pp. 12-27

Britain's intermittent interest in Sindh had been trade, but the threat posed by France and Russia to Britain's position in India brought Sindh to the fore in the early 19th century. From this period, there were an increasing number of missions by civilians as well as military officers, whose professional training included drawing and watercolour painting, and travel literature on Sindh accompanied by illustrations; popular with an eager reading public in Britain.

Close Encounters: The Army of the Indus
Raza, Rosemary
Vol. 66 No. 2, December 2014, ISBN: 978-93-83243-05-1, pp. 28-51

New developments in printing techniques, particularly lithography, enabled publishers to satisfy the public’s interest in political and military developments more effectively. Officers involved in the First Afghan War (1838–42) published illustrated accounts of their experiences in Sindh. Professional artists were engaged to illustrate military engagements and sketches and paintings of officers. An expanding print industry provided new outlets for reproduction. The importance of illustration continued to grow in the travel literature on Sindh.

Enter the Civilians
Raza, Rosemary
Vol. 66 No. 2, December 2014; ISBN: 978-93-83243-05-1, pp. 52-67

New developments in printing techniques, particularly lithography, enabled publishers to satisfy the public’s interest in political and military developments more effectively. Officers involved in the First Afghan War (1838–42) published illustrated accounts of their experiences in Sindh. Professional artists were engaged to illustrate military engagements and sketches and paintings of officers. An expanding print industry provided new outlets for reproduction. The importance of illustration continued to grow in the travel literature on Sindh.

New Technologies and Widening Interests
Raza, Rosemary
Vol. 66 No. 2, December 2014; ISBN: 978-93-83243-05-1, pp. 68-89

By the end of the 1840s, the military’s role in Sindh changed as the province was transferred to civilian rule. This saw a new wave of civilian officers, travellers and those concerned with the development of Sindh and its people in a much more intimate way than earlier generations. Representations of Sindh now documented the changing face of the country under a foreign presence, with new types of buildings, social customs and technical developments. Women artists and depictions of British women also increased in number.

Disseminating Images: Periodicals, Photo-studios, Postcards
Raza, Rosemary
Vol. 66 No. 2, December 2014, ISBN: 978-93-83243-05-1, pp. 90-117

The growth of illustrated journalism and reproduction of images brought Sindh increased exposure through the Illustrated London News and The Graphic as it gave considerable coverage to the conquest, annexation and settlement of Sindh. Sindh featured in transport, communications, archaeology (Mohenjodaro discoveries), life and culture, and political events culminating in Independence in 1947. Amateur photography, the invention of the postcard, as well as wide dissemination of photographs encouraged the creation of collections of photographs and gave a remarkable picture of the British and Karachi.

Heroes and Villains
Raza, Rosemary
Vol. 66 No. 2, December 2014; ISBN: 978-93-83243-05-1, pp. 118-133

The British officer class who came to Sindh found many new interests as technology produced innovative ways of disseminating visual images. Military officers were commissioned to photograph the people of Sindh, excavated remains in Sindh and remarkable discoveries of Mohenjodaro and the Indus civilization. The Great Exhibition of 1851 and the Indian Journal of Art and Industry in 1884 highlighted Sindh-centred jewellery, lacquer work, textiles, pottery and tilework. Colour printing was encouraged. Women, children and the poor were also visually represented.