Sir Richard Meade


This photograph of Sir Richard Meade (1821–94) is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. Meade, who is smartly dressed with his military honors across his chest, served as the British resident at the Indian princely (nominally sovereign) state of Hyderabad in 1875–81. He tutored and protected Maḥbūb ʻAlī Khān (1866–1911), the underage nizam (ruler). Meade’s biographer, Thomas Henry Thornton (1832–1913), author of General Sir Richard Meade and the Feudatory States of Central and Southern India (1898), regarded this position as one of the most politically challenging in India. Meade’s successes there included rebuffing efforts by the prime minister, Mir Turab Ali Khan, known as Sir Sālār Jang (1829–83; salar jang means war leader), to reestablish Hyderabad’s authority over the neighboring province of Berar. The Second Anglo-Afghan War began in November 1878 when Great Britain, fearful of what it saw as growing Russian influence in Afghanistan, invaded the country from British India. The first phase of the war ended in May 1879 with the Treaty of Gandamak, which permitted the Afghans to maintain internal sovereignty but forced them to cede control over their foreign policy to the British. Fighting resumed in September 1879, after an anti-British uprising in Kabul, and finally concluded in September 1880 with the decisive Battle of Kandahar. The album includes portraits of British and Afghan leaders and military personnel, portraits of ordinary Afghan people, and depictions of British military camps and activities, structures, landscapes, and cities and towns. The sites shown are all located within the borders of present-day Afghanistan or Pakistan (a part of British India at the time). About a third of the photographs were taken by John Burke (circa 1843–1900), another third by Sir Benjamin Simpson (1831–1923), and the remainder by several other photographers. Some of the photographs are unattributed. The album possibly was compiled by a member of the British Indian government, but this has not been confirmed. How it came to the Library of Congress is not known.

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1 photographic print in an album : albumen


  1. Thomas Henry Thornton, General Sir Richard Meade and the Feudatory States of Central and Southern India; A Record of Forty-Three Year’s Service as Soldier, Political Officer and Administrator (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1898).

Last updated: September 30, 2016