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Asia, Pacific & Africa Collections

Begun by the East India Company in 1801, this fascinating survey of the landscape and architectural heritage of South Asia spans the late-18th to mid-20th centuries.

Image of John Falconer

John Falconer

Curator, Photographs, India Office Collection

The British Library’s collection of prints, drawings and photographs from the Indian subcontinent and its surrounding territories is one of the world’s greatest visual records of the cultural history of South Asia from the late-18th to the mid-20th century. Rich in artistic merit and unrivalled in its survey of topography and social customs, the collection reflects the way artists, Indian and European, rose to the challenge of documenting a land of endless variety and fascination.

Here are almost 15,000 of the collection’s finest images. We focus on the artists and photographers whose work provides a comprehensive account of the landscapes and architectural heritage of South Asia.

Read the full curator's introduction

Curator's choice

John Falconer highlights personal favourite items from the collection

See all of the items in this exhibition

Tanjore Pagoda. The great pyramidal tower

During his military career Edmund David Lyon was Governor of Dublin District Prison (Military), 1...

Mausoleum of Nawaub Asoph Khan, Rajemahel

Plate 24 from the third set of Thomas and William Daniells' 'Oriental Scenery.' Of all the Britis...

No. 44. Amerapoora. View at N. end of the Wooden Bridge

Photograph by Linnaeus Tripe, from a portfolio of 120 prints, showing a view of the wooden bridge...

Village near Calcutta (Garden Reach)

Little is known of Fiebig’s career beyond his work as a topographical artist and lithograph...

The Manirung Pass, elevation 18,600 feet

By the 1860s, commercial photography was becoming well-established in India and this growing mark...

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