NEW DELHI — More than 1,000 European engravings and etchings of pre-colonial India, many of them rare, have been put on display in the ballroom of New Delhi's historic Hotel Imperial.
The private collection, one of the largest of its kind in India, "reflects India as it was 200 years ago," said Harvinder Sekhon, the hotel's manager, who has become an amateur art historian.
For the exhibit, celebrating the 50th anniversary of India's independence, Sekhon moved works from the hotel's private halls and guest rooms for public display, and unearthed a few rare pieces long forgotten in storerooms. A highlight is a mural-length battle scene.
William Hodges, one of the first professional British artists to visit India, is represented in prints so exact they could be sepia-toned photographs. Hodges, who died in 1797, came to India after sailing in the South Pacific.
The Hotel Imperial, an Art Deco confection of gray marble and wrought iron built in 1935, was once a meeting place for prominent Indians working to end British rule.