Marshall Alkazi

Friday the 14th of January will see an important event in the School of Arts and Aesthetics at JNU, the inauguration of the exhibition, The Marshall Albums: Photography and Archaeology.

One of the most important collections in the Alkazi Collection of Photography, The Marshall Albums displays images taken by Sir John Marshall and the ASI during his service as its first Director General between 1902 and 1928. The images reflect his keen interest in photography as a tool for successful conservation campaigns and highlight a unique process, which helped set important trends and standards in photography for archaeological scholarship in the formative years of the ASI.


The exhibition is drawn from a publication by the same name, edited by Dr. Sudeshna Guha, which explores the many discoveries and interpretations of Indian history that emerged through archaeological fieldwork. While maintaining focus on Marshall’s contributions to South Asian archaeology, the themes presented include the rise of archaeology as an authoritative element for historical scholarship during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the politics and contestations involved in the archaeological preservation of monuments and historical landscapes, and the relationship between photography and archaeology.

The exhibition aims to present reflexive histories of an investigative technique that developed into a disciplinary science within British India and will be on till the 29th of January.

The book by Sudeshna Guha is published by Mapin, and is, quite naturally, in our Photography and Archaeology sections at SwB.

With inputs from Michael Dodson, Tapati Guha-Thakurta, Robert Harding and Christopher Pinney, the book draws "on the photographic albums in the personal collection of Sir John Marshall, Director-General of the Archaeological Survey of India from 1902 to 1908, this volume is a study exploring multiple perceptions of Indian history and related scholarship produced through archaeological field work during the colonial period. While maintaining focus on Marshall’s contributions to South Asian archaeology, the themes of the essays include the rise of archaeology as an authoritative element for historical scholarship during the 18th and 19th centuries, the preservation of monuments and historical landscapes, and the complex relationships between photography and archaeology.

The book highlights major sites such as Sanchi, Sarnath, Mohenjodaro and Taxila—often referred to as Marshall’s archaeological triumphs."


In hardcover, 288pages, 119 sepia photographs, 10 drawings and a map. Rs 3500, ISBN: 9788189995324

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