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11 November 2019'The Portraits of the Maharanis'
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'The Portraits of the Maharanis' Dr John Stevens Monday 11 November 2019

The Maharajahs and Maharanis of India were semi-independent rulers, responsible for governing territories that were outside the direct control of the British Empire. They fascinated the British public, and functioned as powerful symbols of ‘exotic India’. This lecture drew on an extensive collection of portraits and photographs of Indian Maharanis. These images, and the costumes worn by the women they depict, are stunning works of art in their own right. They are also some of the earliest images of Indian women portraying them as powerful, dignified and educated figures. This lecture brought these beautiful portraits to life with insights into the lives and memoirs of the Maharanis themselves, along with a broader view of the role they played in the British Empire.

Dr John Stevens is a Research Associate at SOAS, University of London, and a member of academic staff at the SOAS South Asia Institute. His PhD in History is from University College London. He teaches British Imperial history, Indian history and Bengali language, and is a regular visitor to India and Bangladesh. He publishes widely in the fields of British and Indian history. His biography of the Indian guru Keshab Chandra Sen – Keshab: Bengal’s Forgotten Prophet - was published by Hurst and Oxford University Press in 2018. He appears regularly in the Indian media, and was recently a guest on BBC Radio Four’s In Our Time, discussing the poet and artist Rabindranath Tagore.