To think that this big city, as large as Greater London, was a few short months ago nothing but rice-fields! Now it was illuminated by electric light; there were tramcars; it was an enormous town, and one that looked as though it had always been there. — p. 25

Strangers passing through India visit the different show-places; they “ do ” the temples and the ruins; and sometimes, through special letters of introduction, they call on the various Rajas. But they never see the marvellous stores of gold and jewels hidden away in the inner apartments of the Palaces, or, if they do, it is among more or less tawdry surroundings. To the Durbar every Raja brought his best and costliest; each vied with his neighbour in pride of possession; and we saw all these treasures massed together in one glittering heap against a dignified and suitable background. — “Central India Camp, p. 173”

The review of the Princes' retainers was unique. No one in that arena had ever seen, or ever would see again, anything to approach it. For days we had been satiated with marvellous spectacles and colour-schemes that left us breathless; but this was something different, something more wonderful than all. One felt that one was living in another world, the picturesque old world of a hundred years ago. Even Anglo-Indians more or less accustomed to such scenes could not but admit that here were types and costumes that they had never seen or dreamt of. It was not merely a Barnum's show to amuse the jaded Westerner: there was nothing grotesque or ludicrous in this array of native retainers. It was a historic pageant. Here were real men dressed in real costumes that they had lived in and knew how to wear. They carried with them their own atmosphere round the arena. Sometimes the different States followed so closely on one another's heels that their atmospheres overlapped; but they never intermingled each one was isolated, separate, distinct. — “The Procesion of Retainers,” pp. 76-77

Subjects, styles, and formats

The Artist’s Commentary

The Paintings

From Rajgarh


Menpes, Mortimer. The Durbar. Text by Dorothy Menpes. London: Adam & Charles Black, 1903. Internet Archive version of a copy in the University of California at Los Angeles Library. Web. 27 May 2017.

Finnemore, John. Peeps at Many Lands: India. Illustrated by Mortimer Menpes. London: Adam and Charles Black, 1910. Internet Archive. Web. 30 March 2014. [Suggested by — Jacqueline Banerjee as another resource.]

Last modified 5 June 2017