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Shepherd & Robertson
Ruins of the Residency, Lucknow
26.2 x 39.3 cm
National Galleries of Scotland
Acc. No. PGP R 870.28
(Curatorial caption, accessed 23 November 2014)
This iconic image of the 1857 Indian Mutiny (or Great Rebellion) is striking in its harshness. The Residency was built around 1800 for the British Resident in Lucknow. The Resident was a senior British official posted to a major state in India. The complex was besieged twice during the Mutiny, then recaptured by British forces. The surviving ruins convey the grandeur of the original building and evidence of the destruction of the events of 1857. The Mutiny is regarded by many as the most disastrous event in the history of the British presence in India. It brought about the demise of the East India Company, and the take-over of its functions and responsibilities by the British Crown. The barren, desolate landscape pictured here served as a constant reminder of the events. It appeared to be attesting to the brutality of the Indians versus the respectability of the British. The harsh light and lack of any human figures made it all the more potent.