Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Princess Ahmadee

This is an image from a DigiWERX collage sheet that I played with in Photoshop and then turned into an ATC.
Most of the cabinet cards I’ve bought, collected or been given have no information about the person being photographed, so this is one of the rare exceptions. Stamped in gold below the photo is the title “Princess Ahmadee of the Royal House of Delhi.”

I doubt “Ahmadee” is her first name though. Apparently Ahmadi is an Islamic sect, and there was a royal family by that name in India during the time of the British Raj. I’m assuming Princess Ahmadee must have visited London in the 19th century when her photographer made this spelling mistake.


A bird in the hand said...

This is luminous!
You've turned her into a fairy proncess. xoxo

A bird in the hand said...

Ahahaha! Proncess. I don't think so. Sorry about that -- you know I hate typos :)))

Godelieve said...

Great job! This is so pretty!

zero_iq said...

Another photo of her can be found in Issue 27, Volume 5, of The Strand magazine, printed March 1893. She is named there with the same spelling as Princess Ahmadee of the Royal House of Delhi.

I happened to be reading the original Sherlock Holmes stories, which were printed in the Strand, and googled her at random whilst flitting through the rest of the magazine, and found your page.

She can be seen here: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/30222/30222-h/images/image293.jpg

zero_iq said...

After some more Googling...

She was born Mary Ahmadee Ali / Ahmed Ali, in London, apparently the daughter of a 'well-born' Englishwoman and an Indian Prince, Nawab Sir Ahmad Ali (the spellings differ somewhat in different publications), born in Kensington Palace Gardens, 1870.

She seems to have been a celebrated singer in late 19th century London, known as Princess (or "Begum") Ahmadee, known for her mezzo-soprano voice and striking beauty. She also appears to have caused something of a stir for not bowing to Queen Victoria...


From the Iowan "The Harwarden Independent" newspaper, Oct 1891:

"A Hindoo Princess...Begum Ahmadee... distinguished herself in London society as a singer of superior voice, talent and cultivation. She is a descendant of the emperors of Delhi, and possesses a mezzo soprano voice of extraordinary richness and power, which is used with very high artistic taste. She has also great personal beauty."

Otago Witness, 11 April 1895:

"Twenty-five years ago a girl was born at Kensington Palace Gardens. Her father was the Nawab Sir Ahmad Ali, and her mother was a well-born English lady. When eight years old she was baptised at Hawarden, Lord Lawrence being her godfather. She is now the Begum Ahmadee by birth and Mrs Bennett by marriage. She is also one of the most beautiful and gifted women of the day. Her personal attractions are most remarkable, and so are her musical gifts. She learned piano-forte and harp under the most eminent teachers, who in each case asserted that she was capable of attaining the highest aristic rank and success as pianist or harpist respectively. And Tosti says the same of her vocal capabilities. He proclaims her a potential Patti, and the Queen, who is a good judge, agrees with him. So we may see and hear a new and marvellous star in the firmament ere long."

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