125 years of the Ravi Varma Press

The Ravi Varma Press

The immense popularity of Ravi Varma’s paintings led to an initial suggestion by Sir Tanjavur madhava Row, the Dewan of Baroda suggesting the artist send some of his paintings to Europe to have them printed and circulated. This suggestion eventually led to the establishment of the Ravi Varma Press.

The Press was initially established in Bombay and commenced functioning in the year 1894. The first chromolithograph from the Press, the “Birth of Shakuntala” was launched on July 12,1894. In September of the same year, the Press issued prints of Lakshmi and Saraswati which were immensely popular among the Hindus.

The Press thereafter briefly shifted to Ghatkopar in Bombay and eventually moved to Lonavala where it continued to function till the 1980’s. Upon the discontinuation of the business the machinery was sold and the remaining material like the lithograph stones, progress prints, etc were acquired by the Hasta Shilpa Trust at Manipal where they are on display.

The images from the Press allowed pictures to reach the common man and were highly influential, altering the notions of religion imagery and aesthetic sensibilities of the people of the Indian sub-continent and beyond.

Raja ravi varma painting Shakuntala janm

Participating Institutions

Talk on the occasion of the Commemorative at the NGMA, Bengaluru

Ganesh Shivaswamy delivers the first talk in the series at NGMA, Bengaluru on July 12, 2019.

Articles written for the Commemorative

raja ravi varma painting of prasssana sankar

The Ravi Varma Press – 125 Year Commemorative

This article explores the history of the Ravi Varma Press.

raja ravi varma painting of rama

The Influence of the Ravi Varma Press

This article explores the influence of the Ravi Varma Press on various aspects of life.