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Ruins of the Residency, Lucknow

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Ruins of the Residency, Lucknow 1862 - 1863

Not on display

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.

Glossary Open

East India Company

The East India Company operated on the Indian subcontinent from 1757 to 1857. Over its lifespan it was transformed from a purely mercantile venture into a major political power. It began as an English trading corporation, guaranteed a monopoly of the East India trade by Royal Charter in 1600. After the Act of Union in 1707, Scottish merchants began to be involved in the Company’s activities. The Company was abolished in 1859 after the 1857 Indian Mutiny (or Great Rebellion). India became a colony under the British crown.

Indian Mutiny

A rebellion against British rule by Indian soldiers that began in Meerut in 1857. The uprising led to the end of the East India Company that had governed much of India, and the subcontinent was brought under direct crown rule in 1858.

East India Company, Indian Mutiny


  • Acc. No. PGP R 870.28
  • Medium Albumen print
  • Size 26.2 x 39.3 cm
  • Credit Provenance unknown