Lord Lytton, Viceroy of India 1876-1880


The 11¼ x 8¼  ins photograph probably dates from 1877 as Lytton wears the Empress of India Medal around his neck as well as the breast badge or star of Most Exalted Order of the Star of India of which the Viceroy was always ex officio Grand Master. There are some small insect holes to the photograph, mainly to the background, with just a few to the retainers but the Viceroy has escaped. Although the album leaf to which the image is pasted is worn, discoloured, and damp stained to the left lower corner the image itself remains good apart form the insect damage and a little fading to the edges from light intrusion into the album in which was. Photographic paper does not suffer in the same way that ordinary paper and card do. One of the illustrations gives an idea of how the image would be improved by matting with a window mount.  The reverse of the leaf has a faded portrait of the Secretaries of the Indian Government.

Although this attractive image appears in several books [such as Mark Bence-Jones The Viceroys of India p 91] it is particularly difficult to find an original copy. There has been some discussion about why the Viceroy has adopted such an unusual sitting position in his throne. He suffered from the distressing condition of piles which would have made sitting for long periods highly uncomfortable. Lytton was certainly rather an eccentric figure and, although a hard working occupant of the throne which he only accepted with reluctance he may have just been bored by much of the ceremonial he had to endure, Perhaps he leans to one side to reveal the imperial crown which would not be visible if he sat upright.  On the website is another picture of Lord Lytton in a much less formal situation and in that too he appears to loll in his chair.   34  SOLD 232rd March 2020