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The Delhi Durbar 1902-03

The Delhi Durbar 1902-03

One of the earliest films to be screened throughout India upon the accession of Edward VII as Emperor of India

Non-Fiction 1902 3 mins

Overview

The film shows a single scene of the procession commencing the Delhi Durbar to commemorate Edward VII's accession to the throne. It captures the arrival of Nathaniel Curzon, Viceroy of India, and Prince Arthur, the Duke of Connaught (Edward VII's brother and his representative at the Durbar) in Delhi on 29th December. It shows the procession from the railway station through the old city of Delhi.

The two-week long Durbar was the most expensive and elaborate act of British pageantry ever attempted in India. It dwarfed the Imperial Durbar of 1877 marking the declaration of Victoria as Empress of India and the smaller processions that accompanied the arrival of new Viceroys of India. Curzon built a tent city housing 150,000 guests north of Delhi proper and what occurred in Delhi was to be replicated (on a smaller scale) in towns and cities across India. The filming of the arrival of the Crown's representatives - by several British film companies - was part of this desire to disseminate the scale and grandeur of the celebrations. This particular footage was shot for RW Paul's Animatograph Works company. It was one of the earliest films to be screened in India.