Rare Lithograph title-page ‘Portraits: Princes & People of India’ by Emily Eden, Ali Bahadur II, pub. Dickinson 1844


Rare coloured lithograph, the title-page from ‘Portraits of the Princes and People of India’, after sketches by Emily Eden, printed by L. Dickson, Bond Street, London in 1844, ‘Printsellers by special appointment ti her majesty and H.R.H. the Duchess of Kent’,
with central finely detailed image of a young boy in regal Indian dress, (Ali Bahadur II 1832-73), holding a sword and seated in a fringed carpet, all picked out in colour; set within a Mogul- style archway, with three-tone architectual framework with fine panelled details, the top with finials & balustrade.

Printed 1844

Print: 48.5 x 30.5cm

Backing: 56.5 x 45.2cm

Light wear & discolouration to image in places, displays well.


Emily Eden (1797-1869) was a remarkable woman. She was a poet, amateur artist, and novelist who wrote witty accounts of English life in the early 19th century. Jane Austin was her favourite author, and she is often compared to her in style.
She never married, being a wealthy woman who only wrote and drew for her own amusement. At one stage it was thought she would marry the recently widowed Lord Melbourne – a close friend – but she recorded she found him “bewildering” and to be shocked by his profanity!

She accompanied her brother George (Lord Auckland) to India in 1836 when he was Governor-General. They stayed in Calcutta at first, but between October 1837 and February 1840 toured through Oudh and the hill regions. They visited the court of Ranjit Singh in 1838, and Emily recorded her impression both in writing, and in sketches, which she used on her return to England in 1842 when she printed ‘Portraits of the Princes and People of India’ privately as a set of 24 lithographs. It was was published in 1844 in four parts in wrappers. Most were in monochrome except for a few beautifully hand-coloured copies, of which the present is one of two discovered in Australia by Moorabool Antiques.
See the other one here>>

This image is c, the young son of the Nawab of Banda. He would have been about 9 or 10 when Emily Eden sketched him for this image. Banda was a province in Northern India, ruled by a Muslim Nawab. It had been founded in the early 19th century, and Ali Bahadur II was the grandson of the founder. In 1857, he was was actively involved in the uprising against the British Raj, joining forces with the other rebel states. Consequently, the British removed the Nawab after the revolt was quelled in 1858, and Banda was brought under British rule. Ali Bahadur II lived out his life in exile, dying in 1873. 

Emily Eden published her sketches privately in 1844. The plain lithograph-printed versions of this publication are scarce, but the original hand-tinted colours of this example put it in the extreme rarity category.

An example in the Royal Collection: Emily was a correspondent of Queen Victoria. 




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