Earliest Photograph Of The Sub-Continent Taken In Lahore

Qasim Khan Lahore

Gateway of Badshahi Mosque Lahore c. 1849, One of the earliest photographs of the Sub-Continent taken by Dr. J McCosh! a doctor and amateur photographer stationed in Punjab during 1847-49.

Though history of professional photography in India starts in early 1860s when British Government invited photographers to take part in Survey of India, but there are many photographs that were taken quite personal by different British Army Officers during 1840s and 1850s.

Dr. J McCosh, One of the first photographers known to have worked in India, an army surgeon with the East India Company. He was based in Lahore and Ludhiaana just before the second Anglo-Sikh war in 1847, and produced many photographs using the calotype process, including the only known picture of Duleep Singh as a Maharaja. The reign of this boy king, the son of Sardar Ranjit Singh, was ended by the war.

The McCosh albums included over a dozen portraits of Sikhs, mainly officers in the Sikh army as well as some of the non-Sikh officers, who were also encouraged to grow long beards. As well as photographing people, McCosh also photographed the Sikh palaces and other buildings, as well as landscapes and military scenes.

A collection of military photographs attributed to him is in the National Army Museum, Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea, London.