The Maharani of Nepal and her ladies-in-waiting, Nepal (1885-1894)
Around 1882, British photographers P.A. Johnston and Theodore Hoffmann founded what became one of the largest commercial photography studios in India. Johnston & Hoffmann produced a range of albumen portraits depicting the people of various Himalayan regions, including Sikkim and Tibet. The above image was taken Nepal, a remote area that was barely depicted in the early days of photography. There remain many questions around the photograph's origins. "This was not made as an ethnographic record -- it looks more like an official portrait," said Barthe. "Johnston & Hoffmann made an album on some of the important people of Nepal, though (the images) are very rare. "It doesn't look like a commercial project. It could have been a special request from the Nepalese court, but we don't have many details."