Viceroys of India
Past display archive
23 April - 16 December 2012
Room 23: case display
Edward Robert Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Earl of Lytton
by Bourne & Shepherd
In the eyes of Lady Curzon, writing in 1898, the office of Viceroy of India was ‘the greatest position in the English world next to the Queen and Prime Minister’. This coveted, yet dangerous, role, with its highly unusual, quasi-royal character, had come into being in the aftermath of the Indian Uprising, when Queen Victoria was declared sovereign of British India in 1858. With this statutory change, her representative in the subcontinent was elevated from the bureaucratic title of Governor-General to the majestic one of Viceroy.
Over the next eighty-nine years, twenty four men were called upon to embody the role of Viceroy. Each brought their individual character to bear on the task of performing royalty in the name of the British monarch, using the regal practices of the Mughals. Focusing on a selection of portraits relating to key moments in the Viceroy era, this display explores the changing characteristics of the role. Looking to mark the involvement of Indian protagonists, it ends with Henri Cartier-Bresson’s jubilant image of the departure of the last Viceroy, Lord Mountbatten, in the presence of India’s new Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru.
© National Portrait Gallery, London
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- Thomas George Baring, 1st Earl of Northbrook (NPG 5614)
- Louis Mountbatten, Earl Mountbatten of Burma; Jawaharlal Nehru; Edwina Cynthia Annette, Countess Mountbatten of Burma (NPG P434)
- Edward Robert Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Earl of Lytton (NPG x13100)
- Mary Victoria (née Leiter), Lady Curzon of Kedleston; Sir Pratab Singh, Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir and approximately 22 others (NPG x88909)
- Maharaja Bahadur Sir Jotindramohan Tagore (NPG x88910)
- Mary Victoria (née Leiter), Lady Curzon of Kedleston (NPG x135954)
- George Nathaniel Curzon, Marquess Curzon of Kedleston (NPG x136026)
- 'The Coronation Durbar' (King George V; Queen Mary) (NPG x134355)
- Charles John Canning, Earl Canning (NPG D42313)
- Charles John Canning, Earl Canning
- George Nathaniel Curzon, Marquess Curzon of Kedleston
- Mary Victoria (née Leiter), Lady Curzon of Kedleston
- King George V
- Maharaja Bahadur Sir Jotindramohan Tagore
- Edward Robert Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Earl of Lytton
- Queen Mary
- Louis Mountbatten, Earl Mountbatten of Burma
- Edwina Cynthia Annette (née Ashley), Countess Mountbatten of Burma
- Jawaharlal Nehru
- Thomas George Baring, 1st Earl of Northbrook
- Sir Pratab Singh, Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir