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Lot 60: A.R. ACOTT (DATES UNKNOWN). VISIT INDIA. Circa 1920s. 39x25 inches, 101x65 cm.
27 October 2016
New York, NY, USALive Auction
A.R. ACOTT (DATES UNKNOWN) VISIT INDIA. Circa 1920s.
39 3/4x25 3/4 inches, 101x65 1/2 cm.
Condition A-: expertly-overpainted margins; repaired tears in margins and text; unobtrusive vertical fold.
An essential part of Indian life, elephants play crucial roles in every faction of society; their role in religious and political ceremonial processions captured the imaginations of travelers more than any other. The Delhi Durbar of 1902, a celebration of the coronation of King Edward VII as Emperor of India, featured an opulent procession of elephants, royalty and dignitaries and was heralded as a dynamic display of pageantry. Stories and photos of the event were widely publicized throughout the British Empire and became representative of the idealized travel destination from that point on. For this reason, Acott, who designed a number of different posters for various Indian Railway companies, based this sumptuous travel scene on a photo taken at that event of the Viceroy of India and his wife atop the elephant Lakshaman Prasad. By omitting the identifiable diplomats in favor of native Indians, he timelessly exemplifies the pageantry and exoticism that was so alluring to British travelers. By the time this poster was created in the 1920s, India was deemed the "jewel in the crown of the British Empire" and the Great Indian Peninsula Railway was well-traveled by locals, tourists and entrepreneurs alike.