BRUNE & SHEPHERD [photographic establishments]. Durbar Souvenir [cover title]. Mumbay, Caxton House, for Brune & Shepherd, .
Oblong small 4to. Original cord-bound wrappers with Royal coat-of-arms printed in colours laid down on front wrapper; 24 leaves of plates after photographs (a few in blue, one folding out to a long panorama); first plate with light offsetting from wrapper, another plate a little crinkled due to binding fault, otherwise an unusually well-preserved ephemeral publication.
First edition of this rare Indian book production, in very good condition. Bourne and Shepherd were photographic pioneers in England and India and the official photographers of the ceremony. 'Durbar is a Persian term that was adopted in India to refer to a ruler's court. It could also be used to refer to a feudal state council or to a ceremonial gathering. The term was used during the British Raj for special royal occasions. Three imperial Durbars were held in Delhi: the first, held in 1877, marked the proclamation of Queen Victoria as Queen Empress of India; the second, held in 1902-03, marked the coronation of King Edward VII. The last, held on 12 December 1911, marked the coronation of King George V as 'King-Emperor' of India, and was the only Durbar that the ruler attended in person. The 1911 Durbar was "the most spectacular ceremony in the history of the British empire' (ODNB); it cost over £1 million to mount, and was over a year in preparation. Over 200,000 people attended the events taking place in Delhi's Coronation Park, which were captured in print, photography and the relatively new technology of film. As well as providing a clear sign of Britain's commitment to maintaining its grip on India, the Durbar was also used for particular political purposes. King George announced the reversal of the unpopular 1905 decision that had partitioned Bengal. He also declared Delhi the new capital and laid its foundation-stone (soon after moved when New Delhi was re-sited). The Durbar was followed by a shooting expedition in Nepal and a visit to Calcutta (Kolkatta), the former capital of British India. The royal party returned home the following year, reaching Portsmouth on 5 February 1912' (National Library of Scotland, on another Durbar album).
COPAC locates a single copy, in the British Library.