Hafiz Abdul Karim; Queen Victoria

1 portrait

Hafiz Abdul Karim; Queen Victoria, by Hills & Saunders, July 1893 - NPG P51 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Hafiz Abdul Karim; Queen Victoria

by Hills & Saunders
carbon print, July 1893
18 in. x 23 5/8 in. (457 mm x 600 mm)
Purchased, 1901
Primary Collection
NPG P51


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Sittersback to top

  • Hafiz Abdul Karim (circa 1863-1909), Secretary and 'Munshi' to Queen Victoria. Sitter in 2 portraits.
  • Queen Victoria (1819-1901), Reigned 1837-1901. Sitter associated with 487 portraits, Artist associated with 5 portraits.

Artistback to top

This portraitback to top

To her great satisfaction Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India in 1876 and thereafter imported an Indian flavour to her court. There was a Durbar Room at Osborne, and, after the death of John Brown, she employed as her personal attendant Abdul Karim from Agra. His airs made him, like Brown before him, most unpopular in court circles, but the Queen defended him with absolute tenacity and he remained in her service until her death. In Agra, Karim had been a clerk or Munshi and in 1889 he was created Queen's Munshi, relieving him of such menial duties as waiting at table. He rapidly graduated, as Prince Albert had done, from blotting the Queen's letters to helping in their composition; he also gave his mistress lessons in Hindustani. In this photograph Karim stand in attendance as the Queen works on her boxes in her garden-tent at Frogmore House in Windsor.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Rogers, Malcolm, Camera Portraits, 1989 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 20 October 1989 - 21 January 1990), p. 137
  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 635