Fifty Photographs: selections from SCUA collections

Colonial army in British India

by John Thomson, ca.1862

Raised by the British East India Company from "native" populations, the 22nd Bengal Infantry were part of the backbone of the imperial project in South Asia. The 22d was one of many native regiments that mutinied during the Rebellion of 1857, just a few years before this image was taken. The regiment was disbanded after the rebellion and a regiment with number raised. they were stationed in Pining, Malaysia, when Thompson photographed them.

Thompson was a pioneering Scottish photographer in southeast Asia, traveling to Singapore in 1862 to set up a studio and traveling widely across the peninsula over the next two years. Also became one of the earliest European photographers in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia, and later China, all before returning home in 1872.