the splendour of the raj
DEVARE, Gopinath. Views of Baroda. Bombay, Devare & Co., [c. 1919].
Oblong folio. Original red crushed morocco, spine with raised bands, compartments ornamented in gilt, front cover decorated and lettered in gilt, inner dentelles gilt, red endpapers, gilt-stamped red morocco label listing the appointments of Devare & Co by several Maharajas inside front cover, all edges gilt; 34 original photographs (c. 190 x 130 mm) mounted on strong card; hinges restored, one margin of mounting board a bit brittle, the final 7 mouting boards with marginal faint trace of humidity, otherwise fine.
This splendid photo album by one of the leading Indian photographers of the Raj opens with a full-length portrait of the Maharadja of Baroda, His Highness Sir Sayadji Rao Gaekwar, followed by his wife, the Maharanee, and several external and internal views of their residence, Laxmi Vilas Palace, one of the largest private dwellings of the time, four times the size of Buckingham Palace. Other photos depict palaces, Baroda High School, public buildings (some not quite finished yet), an equestrian statue of the Maharadja, a bird's eye view of the city, the main street, ancient monuments and temples.
Maharaja Sayaji Rao III, who took the throne in 1875, modernized and developed Baroda, establishing compulsory primary education, a library system and the University of Baroda. Vadodara, as the capital is correctly called now, was thriving under his reign which is considered the golden age of Maratha rule in the state. Gopinath K. Devare, whose son became the first and an importat cinematographer was the foremost Indian photographer. He commissioned a landmark in Mumbai in 1930, Devare Tower. Gopinath became the first Indian to be awarded Fellowship of Royal Society of Photograpy. - Binding photographed before restoration.