Iconic Photos

Famous, Infamous and Iconic Photos

Aftermath of the Siege of Lucknow

with 5 comments


A Corfiote, Felice Beato, visited India during the Great Sepoy Mutiny of 1857, possibly by the commission of the War Office in London. In Delhi, Cawnpore, Lucknow and other mutiny sites, he took many photos with a large box camera which needed long exposures. In Lucknow, he took 60 photographs of the city, where the defending British garrison was besieged by the sepoys only months before. 

The above picture showed the interior of the Secundra Bagh after 2,000 rebels are slaughtered by the 93rd Highlanders and 4th Punjab Regiment, after the first attack of Sir Colin Campbell in November 1857. The British reaction to the mutiny became especially fierce after the women and children were mercilessly gunned down by the sepoys in Cawnpore. The British dead were buried where the Indian corpses were left to rot.

Lucknow was evacuated and was not recaptured until March 1858 and it was shortly afterwards that Beato probably took this photograph. As one contemporary commentator described it: “A few of their [rebel] bones and skulls are to be seen in front of the picture, but when I saw them every one was being regularly buried, so I presume the dogs dug them up.” A British officer, Sir George Campbell, noted in his memoirs Beato’s presence in Lucknow and stated that he probably had the bones uncovered to be photographed. However, William Howard Russell of The Times recorded seeing many skeletons still lying around in April 1858. 

Written by Alex Selwyn-Holmes

May 5, 2009 at 2:05 am

Posted in War

Tagged with ,

5 Responses

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  1. Grandma, who was 7years old at the times told me her most vivid memories of the siege of Lucknow were she was always hungry and the gunfire was incessant.

    Michael Innis

    December 3, 2011 at 7:54 am

    • How Old are you Mike? Your Grandma was born in 1980. Let’s say she was 50 years old when you were born A reasonable assumption). This means you were born in 1900. That makes you 111 when you posted this comment. Something is wrong with this picture.

      You mean your grandma’s grandma don’t you? And you mean your gradma’s grandma told your grandma about the seige which your grandma promptly related to you, right?


      February 24, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    • I’m sorry, I meant your grandma was born in 1850, not 1980 as I put in that post. Anuraag, can you please edit?


      February 24, 2014 at 2:25 pm

  2. […] Though there are some stray dissenting voices on this photograph. […]

  3. Aaah! Thosw masters of propaganda are at it again. Another one of their propaganda coups.

    We need a museum called, “The Museum of British Crimes in India” Or a book titled, “The Black Book of British Imperialism in India”. Anuraag, let’s collaborate on the Book. Part of me wishes that in some future date the Indian navy will land marines on the English coast, capture England and leave the Irish in charge of Law and order in England. But then again ……….. being Indian ……….. I think to myself ……… hatred begets only hatred. But we should still do the book and go for donations on the museum.


    February 24, 2014 at 2:21 pm

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