Art | In the Shadow of the Raj by Derry Moore

Bikaner House in Delhi showcases Derry Moore's In the shadow of the Raj, a photo series brought by Tasveer Gallery in partnership with Dauble.

Moore began photographing India during a series of visits in early 1976. He was fascinated by a palpably observable hybridity and particularly intrigued by the anachronistic architecture of Calcutta and Bombay, which exemplified this hybridity. His architectural studies, interiors, landscapes and portraits are seen in Tasveer’s exhibition and book, highlight enduring colonial legacies in the visual and social fabric of India. Moore writes: “My initial idea had been to photograph some of the places whose days, I knew, were numbered. In the event what fascinated me was not simply the places themselves but also the hybrid quality of many of the lesser buildings that had been constructed since the first arrival of the British in India. A cultural osmosis was clearly discernible, that of British and European architecture on Indian buildings, and that of India and its climate, as well styles, on the British. In the latter instance, a grandeur and a sense of space, such as are rarely seen in Britain, were frequently the outcome: rooms were higher, windows larger, corridors wider, detail more lavish; the porticoes of relatively humble houses might have been snatched from the front of the British Museum. The appearance of their inhabitants too surprised me. I had been expecting folkloric looks, whereas what I found was far more interesting – the look and atmosphere of another century.”

Serving as commentaries on the complex effects of colonialism on the fabric of Indian society, customs and life, these photographs capture another era in more ways than one. Many of these photographs, taken as they were in the mid-seventies and early-eighties, capture a young nation caught in the throes of transformation – political, social and technological. And yet, by photographing places that though condemned to disappear continued to persist, Moore reassures us with a sense of timeless preservation, of constancy amid rapid change.

The narratives of fading grandeur and arrested time in Moore’s architectural emblems and sweeping landscapes, are heightened by the black, white and grey tones of his photographs. Evoking a deep sense of nostalgia, they resound with echoes from a bygone time – no longer present, but somehow still surviving. The accompanying book features over 40 images that have been published for the first time alongside many of Moore’s most popular photographs. The publication is available online at the Tasveer Bookstore:

In the Shadow of the Raj forms part of Tasveer’s twelfth season, which is supported by Dauble. The exhibition will travel across India, including New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and Ahmedabad.

More about the PHOTOGRAPHER

Derry Moore (b. 1937), famed for his architectural interiors and portraits of European aristocracy, captures a magical sense of air, habitat and character—whether of spaces or people—that make his photographs come alive. Following his education at Eton and Cambridge, Moore studied painting at Oskar Kokoschka’s School of Seeing in Salzburg, Austria, and later took up photography lessons under the guidance of Bill Brandt. Moore’s illustrious subjects have included Diana, Princess of Wales, Indira Gandhi, David Bowie, Pandit Ravi Shankar, Ronald Reagan, Satyajit Ray, Anita Desai and Tracey Emin, among many others.

Moore’s work has been widely published by prominent magazines, and his notable publications include Horses: Portraits by Derry Moore (Rizzoli, 2016), Derry Moore: An English Room (Prestel, 2014), Evening Ragas (John Murray, 1997) and The Englishman’s Room (Viking, 1986). His photographs can be found in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the National Portrait Gallery, London, the Royal Collection, the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, as well as numerous private collections.


Tasveer, in partnership with Dauble, presents the work of celebrated English photographer, Derry Moore, with a new exhibition and publication: In the Shadow of the Raj. While the exhibition features a distilled selection of 28 photographs, the more comprehensive book (published by Prestel UK) features 90 images and is accompanied by a foreword by Sir Mark Tully. 

The exhibition is on till the 13th May 2018 at Bikaner House. Delhi