Domestic servants, Madras
Photographer: Nicholas and Curths
Medium: Photographic print
Posed studio group of domestic servants at Madras in Tamil Nadu, taken by Nicholas & Curths in c. 1870, from the Archaeological Survey of India Collections.
After photography was introduced into India in the 1840s it rapidly grew in popularity, particularly as a means to record the vast diversity of people and their dress, manners, trades, customs and religions. The first official attempt to create a comprehensive record of Indian types was the 'The People of India'; an ethnographical survey edited by John Forbes Watson and John William Kaye, and published in eight volumes from 1868 to1875. This image shows four domestic servants in a European household posed in the act of performing various tasks. It was shown at the Vienna Exhibition of 1873 and is mentioned in Watson's exhibition catalogue.