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Views in India by Lala Deen Diyal

Reference Code: GBR/0115/RCS/Y3022J

Scope and Contents

An album containing albumen prints of various sizes with handwritten captions. The numbers at the end of individual photograph entries refer to numbers in the photographer's catalogues.


  • Creation: 1874 - 1910

Conditions Governing Access

Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (

Biographical / Historical

Lala Deen Diyal (also written 'Din Dyal' and 'Dayal') was born at Sardhana near Meerut in 1844. He trained at Thomason Civil Engineering College, Roorkee, and subsequently, in 1866, became the head estimator and draftsman at the Public Works Department, Indore. His interest in photography was probably sparked off at Roorkee where in 1864 a photographer was appointed to train those Indians who were to be employed in photographing public works. Whatever the origins, Deen Diyal, according to his own memoirs, took up the craft on an amateur basis with the encouragement of Sir Henry Daly in 1874 and in the following year he photographed Lord Northbrook (Viceroy 1872-76) and the Prince of Wales (1875-76), then in India on a royal tour. He subsequently took a two year furlough from his official duties in order to concentrate on completing a series of views and opened studios in Secunderabad, Indore and, in 1896, Bombay. Over 50 people were employed in the three branches and part of the business was supervised by Deen Diyal's two sons Raji Gyan Chand (d.1919) and Lala Daram Chand (d.1904). In 1892 he installed a Zenana studio in his Secunderabad branch, operated by Mrs Kenny-Levick, wife of the editor of the Deccan Times. The death of Lala Daram Chand in 1904 precipitated the closure of the Bombay branch and the Indore one the following year, but until Lala Deen Diyal's own death the firm remained the most important of the Indian photographic businesses. Much of this pre-eminence was accounted for by the sponsorship of both Europeans and Indians in high places: he was chosen to accompany Sir Henry Daly on his tour of the Bundalkund Agencies and in 1882 travelled through central India with Sir Lepel Griffin. The most important of these patrons however was the Nizam of Hyderabad who in 1884 appointed him state photographer and paved the way for his similar employment by a number of Viceroys, including Lord Dufferin (Viceroy 1884-88). After Deen Diyal's death in 1911, the firm declined although its fortunes revived somewhat in later years and several of Deen Diyal's direct descendants are active in commercial photography in present day Hyderabad.


1 album(s) (98 images in 1 album)

Language of Materials


Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Generally in good condition but with fading at edges. The album was rebound after it was presented to the RCS.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Originally part of the Imperial Institute Library, the volume was presented to the RCS by the Commonwealth Institute.

Existence and Location of Copies

This collection is available on microfiche: Asia, fiche numbers 23-26.


This item level description was entered by MJC.

Date information

DateText: Dates approximate, estimated with reference to Diyal's biographical details..


Diyal, Lala Deen, 1844-1910, photographer

Includes index.
2003-07-02 15:17:52+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

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