Arts Society Lecturer

Portraits of the Maharanis

The Maharani of Kuch Behar

The Maharajahs and Maharanis of India were semi-independent rulers, responsible for governing territories outside the direct control of the British Empire; seen by the British public, as powerful symbols of ‘exotic India’. This lecture draws on an extensive collection of portraits and photographs of Indian Maharanis – some of the earliest images of Indian women as powerful, dignified and educated. This lecture brings these beautiful portraits to life with insights into the lives and memoirs of the Maharanis themselves, and a view of the role they played in the British Empire.

John Stevens

John Stevens is a Research Associate at SOAS, University of London. He teaches British Imperial history, Indian history and Bengali language, and is a regular visitor to India and Bangladesh. John publishes widely and his biography of Indian guru Keshab Chandra Sen – Keshab: Bengal’s Forgotten Prophet – was published 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.

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