Among the first postcards printed in India, from a lithograph by The Ravi Varma Press' chief lithographer, Paul Gerhardt.
Paul Gerhardt was one of the very first people to produce artist-signed postcards in India. As chief lithographer at the Ravi Varma Press, he arrived in Bombay with the press machinery in the early 1890s. The working language at the Press was German, and lithographers at the time were highly trained technicians and artists. Gerhardt was a painter as well, at times working with the Varma brothers whom he befriended and was admired by (as the younger Varma's diaries record). These postcards, which can be firmly dated to a contract and some of which are signed and dated in 1899, were his own work. Some may date to 1898, and some are not signed but likely from similarities in style and backs to have been drawn and produced by him at the Press.
An early lithographic postcard, and among the rarer ones, by the artist Paul Gerhardt. It was printed in Karli, outside Bombay, at the Ravi Varma Printing Press where Gerhardt worked as a lithographer.
A very early postcard printed in India. Gosavi is a Marathi word that refers to someone who has renounced worldly pleasures and wears garments of the "brick-dust" color shown here.
Snake charmers are one of the most common early Indian postcard subjects, and this must be one of the earliest and most beautiful such views. Note the clever use of the palm backdrop to create the illusion of depth, and the rich use of red.
In India, elephants are revered as symbols of wisdom and good luck. Once it was common to find elephants on the roads of Mumbai.
A very early postcard printed in India and signed by the Ravi Varma Press chief lithographer and also painter, Paul Gerhardt. The title "Bakshis[h] Saheb" refers to the call for alms made by beggars.
This unusual, sepia-ish lithographic postcard is probably by Paul Gerhardt at the Ravi Varma Press even though it is not signed by him with the Press imprint.
The GPO in Bombay was already the largest post office in India when this card was produced in 1899, with tens of millions of postcards passing through in a city of less than a million.