Major Horatio Biden playing chess with himself, Aurangabad circa 1868 or earlier


A most unusual “trick photograph” showing Major H Biden seated at a chess table with another image of himself as the opponent. Major Biden was the commandant of the 3rd Artillery Battery of the Nizam of Hyderabad’s Contingent from 1857 and a central figure of a small European group in the neighbourhood. Biden and his friend Major Gill were both good amateur photographers and Gill, who was considered to have “gone native” and was somewhat excluded from much European society but not from Biden, may have collaborated on this image. The small photograph is unmounted and measures 3.5 x 4.5ins [9 x 11cm], identified on the reverse in pencil in a contemporary hand. The photograph came to us from a Scottish source and was in a small archive which included the Aurangabad album offered in our Catalogue Showroom.    SOLD 12th July 2022