Making Brassware, Punjab
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Making Brassware, Punjab about 1902
  • Scottish Art
Scots-born photographer Fred Bremner produced several images of Indian artisans at work. These photographs hint at the abundance of material wealth that placed India at the heart of Britain's colonial economy. Such images satisfied the huge interest in the subcontinent that had been fuelled by the International Exhibitions of London (1886) and Glasgow (1888). Bremner has a very distinctive compositional format which he incorporates in several of his portraits of tradesmen. His use of strong lines and circles create a striking image. These scenes are often staged to show the various tasks involved in the production process. Here, one man writes in the ledger while the other demonstrates the practical skills involved.

Glossary Open

‘Colonial and Indian’ Exhibition

The ‘Colonial and Indian’ Exhibition of 1886 was held in South Kensington in London. It was intended "to stimulate commerce and strengthen the bonds of union now existing in every portion of her Majesty's Empire". When it closed the Exhibition had received 5.5 million visitors. India took up roughly one third of the exhibition space. The Indian exhibits included art, architecture, economic goods, silks and anthropological studies. It also included a display of 'native artisans' - thirty-four men from Agra demonstrating various crafts and professions. These men were in fact inmates from Agra Jail.

Composition

The arrangement of different elements in a work of art.

Glasgow International Exhibition

An exhibition of arts and industry held in temporary buildings designed by James Sellars in Kelvingrove Park in 1888. Its profits funded the construction of a new Art Gallery and Museum in the park, which still stands today. It was opened in 1901 on the occasion of a second international exhibition.

‘Colonial and Indian’ Exhibition, Composition, Glasgow International Exhibition

Details

  • Acc. No. PGP 129.18
  • Medium Platinum print made by Pradip Malde from collodion glass negative
  • Size 25.10 x 30.10 cm (image size 24.40 x 29.20 cm)
  • Credit Purchased 1987