A lovely scene of Indian romance and tragedy, [looking] N.W. from Mahal up the Jumna to Agra
Photographer: Ricalton, James
Medium: Photographic print
Stereoscopic photograph looking northwest from the Taj Mahal at Agra in Uttar Pradesh, taken by James Ricalton in c. 1903, from The Underwood Travel Library: Stereoscopic Views of India. The Taj Mahal was built by Shah Jahan (r.1628-58) as a memorial to his favourite wife Arjumand Banu Begum, also known by her titles Mumtaz Mahal (Chosen of the Palace) and Taj Mahal (Crown of the Palace). Work on the tomb began in 1631 and by 1643 the entire complex was almost complete. This image is described by Ricalton in 'India Through the Stereoscope' (1907), 'From our new view-point on the building at the east side of the Taj we have a farewell glimpse of the Taj overlooking the Jumna...The negative was made during the dry season when the Jumna shrinks to a moderate stream. You will see sand bars everywhere exposed. During the monsoons the stream is often a great torrent a half-mile in width. We can see the walls of the fort at Agra on the bank of the river.' This is one of a series of 100 photographs, designed to be viewed through a special binocular viewer, producing a 3D effect, which were sold together with a book of descriptions and a map. Stereoscopic cameras, those with two lenses and the ability to take two photographs at the same time, were introduced in the mid 19th century.